Rachel Lerman
Rachel Lerman
Tech reporter @WashingtonPost. Theatre geek. Previously @AP @seattletimes @ICFJ Burns fellow. Send me the things: rachel.lerman@washpost.comSource
San Francisco, CA
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Inside Blue Origin: Employees say toxic, dysfunctional ‘bro culture’ led to mistrust, low morale and delays at Jeff Bezos’s space venture

Inside Blue Origin: Employees say toxic, dysfunctional ‘bro culture’ led to mistrust, low morale and delays at Jeff Bezos’s space venture

In 2019, a mid-level employee at Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin had grown fed up with the company, and as he left, he wrote a long memo that he sent to Bezos, chief executive Bob Smith and other senior leaders: “Our current culture is toxic to our success and many can see it spreading throughout the company.” The problems at the spaceflight company were “systemic,” according to the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post and verified by two former employees familiar with the matter, and “the loss of trust in Blue’s leadership is common.”It was one of a number of warnings to Blue Origin’s...

Oct 15
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Big tech CEOs face lawmakers in House hearing on social media’s role in extremism, misinformation

Big tech CEOs face lawmakers in House hearing on social media’s role in extremism, misinformation

ADHouse lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Thursday interrogated the chief executives of Google, Facebook and Twitter, escalating their calls for swift regulation of the tech industry.During the more than five-hour hearing, lawmakers in five-minute intervals called out executives on a of issues including extremism, misinformation, cyberbullying, climate change and the coronavirus. Many of the politicians attempted to force the chief executives to answer “yes” or “no,” cutting them off if they tried to explain how “nuanced” those issues are.The display demonstrated just how deep the...

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March 25, 2021
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Facebook and Twitter must do more to fight anti-vaccine misinformation, a dozen state attorneys general demand

Facebook and Twitter must do more to fight anti-vaccine misinformation, a dozen state attorneys general demand

ADA coalition of 12 state attorneys general on Wednesday sent a letter to Facebook and Twitter, pressing them to do more to ensure online falsehoods aren’t undermining efforts to vaccinate the public against covid-19.Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D) and 11 other Democratic state attorneys general called on Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to “take immediate steps” to fully enforce their policies against vaccine misinformation.The attorneys general say the companies have not cracked down hard enough on prominent anti-vaccine accounts that...

March 24, 2021
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Child dies after accident with Peloton treadmill

Child dies after accident with Peloton treadmill

ADSAN FRANCISCO — Peloton told some customers Thursday that a child died after an accident with the company’s treadmill, the Tread Plus.“I’m reaching out to you today because I recently learned about a tragic accident involving a child and the Tread+, resulting in, unthinkably, a death,” CEO John Foley to customers.Peloton did not give many details on how the child died but said the company knows of “only a small handful of incidents” where a child was hurt involving the Tread Plus.Peloton is best-known for its home workout bike, which is equipped with a screen so exercisers can watch live...

March 18, 2021
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Parler is back online, more than a month after tangle with Amazon knocked it offline

Parler is back online, more than a month after tangle with Amazon knocked it offline

ADParler is back online following several weeks of darkness after the social media site popular with supporters of former president Donald Trump was knocked offline.Parler effectively fell off the Internet in January when to provide technical cloud computing support to the site after the tech giant determined Parler was not doing enough to moderate and remove incitements to violence. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post).The site was not fully functional on Monday, and some users reported technical glitches as they tried to log in and refresh feeds....

February 15, 2021
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Parler's got a porn problem: Adult businesses target pro-Trump social network

Parler's got a porn problem: Adult businesses target pro-Trump social network

Anyone following the #sexytrumpgirl hashtag on Parler, a social media site increasingly popular with conservatives, got an eyeful one recent Thursday evening as images of topless women and links to hardcore pornography websites appeared at a rapid-fire rate, often more than one per minute.The surge of #sexytrumpgirl posts highlighted a broader dilemma for Parler: The site's lax moderation policies, in keeping with its claims to being a bastion of free speech, have helped it become a magnet for pornographers, escort services and online sex merchants using hashtags targeting conservatives,...

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December 3, 2020
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Judge blocks TikTok ban in second ruling against Trump’s efforts to curb popular Chinese services

Judge blocks TikTok ban in second ruling against Trump’s efforts to curb popular Chinese services

TikTok received a reprieve of its from U.S. app stores on Sunday after a federal judge in Washington granted a preliminary injunction blocking an order from President Trump.It was the second setback for the Trump administration in its effort to curb U.S. residents’ access to popular Chinese mobile apps. Last weekend, a federal magistrate in San Francisco in blocking a proposed ban of the WeChat app.U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who was appointed to the bench by Trump in 2019, was not expected to make public his full ruling until Monday. He filed his decision publicly, but his full...

September 28, 2020
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