4 Trends in Big Tech’s Pandemic Response

Tech giants are mobilizing to provide their users, employees and local communities what they need to survive. They are acting as a support system for the wider public through credible information, financial support and tools to stay connected in the new reality of life.

1. High expectations for fast access to accurate information 

In the last month, big tech has mobilized to prevent misinformation and elevate credible information from the medical community.

Facebook, Reddit, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube issued a joint statement on their unified efforts to combat misinformation, elevate authoritative content, and collaborate with authorities. Apple and Google even announced a partnership for contact tracing to contain the spread of the virus.

Google redesigned their search results with a dedicated website featuring up-to-date information from the WHO and CDC. They are expanding with new features like listing local testing centers.

Apple and Amazon integrated the CDC questionnaire into Siri and Alexa to help users curious if they are exhibiting symptoms.

2. Technology can soothe & connect people in an unprecedented time

During an era of social distancing and shelter in place, people are adopting tech solutions like never before. It’s tech companies time to shine and they are showing up in a helpful way by giving free access to tools that people need while at home. From internet access to video conferencing, technology is the critical way that people are staying physically distant but socially connected.

As work and classrooms at home have become the new standard, software companies like Zoom, Microsoft, Google, and Slack have offered their enterprise software for free and taken pains to make sure they can accommodate the growing demand from users.

3. Employees are the lifeblood of tech giants—at the office or at home

With a global workforce, tech companies must act as a support system for their employees—especially as most transition to a WFH environment.

Early on, Facebook provided a $1,000 bonus to all full-time employees to help support additional expenses while working remotely, such as setting up home offices or spending on childcare.

Twitter stepped up to provide extra financial support to employees with children by providing reimbursement for the additional childcare expenses incurred while normal childcare is unavailable. Twitter also vowed to continue paying standard wages to all contractors and hourly workers unable to perform their responsibilities at home while offices are closed.

4. #Techlanthropy is an obligation for successful tech companies

Tech giants have made massive relief donations to nonprofits and local communities—as expected for some of the largest corporations in the world. There’s never been a more vital time for the merger of technology and philanthropy.

Facebook has created a $100M small business grant and is also matching user donations to the WHO. They’ve also made a $100M donation to support local news organizations and journalists to help keep people informed.

Beyond corporate giving, we’re seeing tech founders and CEOs are also taking on the role of philanthropist to make personal donations to the relief efforts. Jack Dorsey committed to the largest donation so far, $1 Billion and it’s distribution is tracked transparently via a public Google doc.

As the tech giants move into the next phase of the pandemic, it’s vital they provide all people—users, employees and local communities—tools to survive and thrive in the new reality.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

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