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Marc Benioff: Facebook was a ‘train wreck’ even before scandals

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Marc Benioff and Mark ZuckerbergMarc Benioff and Mark Zuckerberg.Reuters

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told CNBC that it was clear Facebook was a “train wreck” even before its year of scandals.
  • Benioff attacked Facebook in January 2018 at The World Economic Forum in Davos, claiming it was as addictive as tobacco and should be regulated.
  • Benioff said Sheryl Sandberg got in touch afterwards to say she would send him a “variety of materials” disproving his claims. Benioff said the materials never arrived, Facebook said they were sent.

Marc Benioff said in an interview with CNBC that Facebook looked like a “train wreck” even before it was beset by a series of crippling scandals last year.

In January 2018, the Salesforce CEO publicly attacked Facebook at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying it needed to be regulated like the cigarette industry because its product was equally addictive.

Benioff told CNBC that he hadn’t planned to come after the social network in advance. It was conversations with hedge fund billionaire Jim Steyer and tech investor Roger McNamee, who initially was an advisor to Mark Zuckerberg but has since become one of Facebook’s most vocal critics, that got him thinking.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg’s former mentor spent a week attacking Facebook for becoming “toxic”

Benioff said he came to the conclusion that Facebook “was a train wreck and that the management team was making it worse.”

Since making the comments in Davos, Facebook was embroiled in the giant Cambridge Analytica data scandal and has been firefighting issues including fake news, inappropriate content, and election meddling.

After the footage of Benioff attacking Facebook went viral, COO Sheryl Sandberg got in touch.

“Her response and others was that it wasn’t true what I was saying and they were going to send me a variety of materials to prove to me that I did not understand the situation,” said Benioff.

“I said I’d be happy to change my position if they sent me those materials that showed I was wrong. Maybe I was wrong, and I’m happy to fall on my sword.”

“But of course those materials never arrived,” he added.

When contacted by CNBC, Facebook said it had sent him the materials on April 6. It did not make clear what these documents consisted of. Business Insider has contacted the company for comment.

Whether or not Facebook sent the materials, Benioff’s position seems unchanged, as he doubled down on the cigarette analogy in November in an interview with Kara Swisher for MSNBC News.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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