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Live in Silicon Valley long enough and someone will tell you that the party is over. As far as I can tell, this phenomenon dates back to at least San Francisco and its surrounding tech hub have continued to die ever since, most spectacularly during the dot-com crash, but certainly well before then, too.

Here, via Andreessen Horowitz partner David Ulevitchis the founder of onetime search giant AltaVista announcing that Silicon Valley was dead in In But then again, San Francisco really has been in a state of crisis for the past decade, thanks to the regional refusal to build adequate housing. And now it has another, global crisis to worry about: the COVID pandemic, which is upending plans and expectations everywhere — but particularly for people who need only a laptop and Wi-Fi connection to be productive, and can therefore easily move away.

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This has been encouraged by the tech companies themselves. First Google told employees they could continue to work from home until June. Then Facebook told employees they could work from home through the end of It is not a particularly complicated scheme to work out. You take your mid-six-figure Bay Area salary and your laptop. You decamp with your family to the countryside, or the mountains, or the beach.

Maybe you simply ride out the hard times there, maybe you stay forever. Already in my weekend and off-hand Zoom calls, friends are plotting cross-country moves — maybe just for a few months, maybe longer.

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Multiply their experiences by several thousand, and this time Silicon Valley really might find itself changed forever. In BloombergSarah Frier talks to some of the folks considering the jump.

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But when the social networking company announced that most employees would be working from home until the end of the yeartheir calculation changed. Dylan Hecklau is thinking along the same lines.

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His ad-tech employer, Jelli Inc. Now that employees have proven productive, its attitude has changed. With those all shuttered for the foreseeable future, the city loses much of its appeal. If tech companies were keen to keep workers close by, they might incentivize them by radically re-thinking offices in a way that made them more appealing.

Some have speculated that COVID, which spre easily among people in close contact with one another for extended periods, might mean the end of the open-plan office.

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But reading early ideas about how to bring employees back to work, the pandemic seems to herald the end of much more. Chip Cutter and Suzanne Vranica examined plans for re-opening offices around the world in anticipation of work restrictions easing, and what they describe sound less like offices and more like torture chambers for white-collar workers.

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Here they are in the Wall Street Journal :. Elevators may only take one person at a time. Desks, once tightly packed in open floor planswill be spread apart, with some covered by plastic shields and chairs atop disposable p to catch germs. The beer taps, snack containers, coffee bars and elaborate gyms and showers that once set high-dollar, white-collar environments apart will likely remain closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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Instead, the company has ordered dozens of microwaves and refrigerators so people can bring in their lunch. The appliances will go in enlarged kitchen areas being erected on every floor. Nobody will need an elevator to access food, and everyone will be expected to use the cleaning supplies stationed nearby to wipe down communal buttons and door handles.

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Of course, some workers will need to stick close to headquarters to attend to servers and the other physical infrastructure of running large internet companies. But given the size of the workforce at tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook, these teams amount to skeleton crews.

But who wants to go into an office like the ones described above? With more tech workers preparing to head for the hills, tech giants could have much to reconsider: preserving productivity, creativity, office culture, diversity, and inclusion; taking a more expansive view of recruiting; and, inevitably, lowering salaries for those living outside the blast radius of the Bay Area housing crisis.

How many people will really flee the Bay Area in the coming year?

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Will Silicon Valley finally be wounded in the manner that so many skeptics have long predicted? At this early stage of the pandemic, the answer is still unknowable. But as of this week, it is no longer unthinkable.

Today in news that could affect public perception of the big tech platforms. Data from The New York Times. As part of the agreement, the company said it would delete personal information of children under the age of The groups also identified problems with age verification for younger users. Last year, the app set up a service for children under 13, TikTok for Younger Users, which prevents them from posting videos and does not collect their personal data. The Senate voted to reauthorize the Freedom Act, bringing the surveillance bill closer to becoming law.

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Lawmakers also shot down a proposal that would have restricted warrantless collection of internet search and web browsing data. France is moving forward with its controversial tech tax after offering to delay it earlier this year. The law requires tech companies to pay a 3 percent tax on total annual revenue generated by providing services to French users. The scheme was deed to convince people they had encountered frustrating technical glitches. Amazon is quietly fighting a new facial recognition law in Portland, Oregon.

The proposed legislation would outright ban the use of the technology by government and private entities, and threaten a range of businesses that sell and use the technology in the city.

A sketchy company headquartered in Malaysia has been selling face masks at wildly inflated prices through on Facebook. The social platform has banned maskbut the rules have been hard to enforce. Researchers at Stanford released a study saying that coronavirus might only be as deadly as the seasonal flu. The study was widely criticized by academics, but still gained traction among right wing groups protesting social distancing measures. American conspiracy theories like QAnon are entering a dangerous new phase: one that is essentially religious in nature. Part of a big new package from the Atlantic on the rise of conspiracy theories in the United States.

A new piece of misinformation about COVID is spreading: that fears of the pandemic are overblown because inthe Woodstock music festival was held during a flu pandemic. The US Postal Service is quietly reviewing its package delivery contracts weeks before a Republican donor becomes postmaster general.

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Among other things, the Postal Service is expected to reexamine what it charges Amazon to carry packages. Facebook has long tried to lead the race to improve connectivity in Africa in a bid to take advantage of a young population, greater connectivity and the increasing availability and affordability of smartphones.

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The U. Google announced its own sub-sea cable connecting Europe to Africa last year, using a route down the west coast. Fans have been hosting listening parties, watch parties, crafting groups, book clubs, and virtual concerts online using the videoconferencing app. With the influencer economy down, creators are turning to OnlyFans as a way to earn money during the pandemic. What does that mean for professional online sex workers? He laid out his plan to make Judy Mikovits famous in an unlisted YouTube video from last month.

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He also has deep ties to the anti-vaxx world. It has created what Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon cannot: a live set, complete with musical guests, comedians, and personalities, gathered in one room. Last week, Alphabet abandoned plans for an experimental smart city in Toronto.

The project echoes a failed sci-fi utopia in Minnesota, a project conceived by an oceanographer and comic-strip artist. The online video chatting tool already has a deal with Netflix to allow people to watch movies and shows with friends. Listen to the first episode of the Last Archive, a new podcast from brilliant historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore. The first episode drops soon. The store buckled under the weight of downlo on Thursday, but the game is free through May 21st.

At Amazon, we have a saying. More to cherish, more to learn, more to discover. Take up a new hobby. Fly your drone into a cloud and see if you can find it again. Sink a yacht just to watch how the water swirls. Tell your V. Send us tips, comments, questions, and your San Francisco escape plan: casey theverge. Subscribe to get the best Verge-approved tech deals of the week. Cookie banner We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from.

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Note: This story contains graphic and detailed allegations of sexual assault that may be upsetting to readers and survivors of sexual violence.