Tech Tent: When gaming stops being fun

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Image caption The games industry may seem glamorous but for workers it can mean low pay and job insecurity

A glamorous industry where highly paid people do exciting and creative work - that is how many see the video games business.

But on Tech Tent we hear from people who paint a different picture of zero-hours contracts, unpaid overtime and job insecurity.

The games industry now ranks with the movie and music businesses when it comes to making money - and employs people with a range of skills, from software developers to musicians and writers.

There is also a lot of fairly routine work which is poorly paid and insecure but provides a first step on the ladder for those eager to get into the industry.

Now the IWGB (Independent Workers Union of Great Britain) trade union, which represents some Uber drivers and other gig economy workers in the UK, is opening a games industry branch. It says this is one of the first unions to represent games workers anywhere in the world.

Living wage?

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Tech Tent: Can we trust the telecoms giants?

The telecoms industry has had a rough week Image copyright Getty Images

This week, a basic error by Sweden's Ericsson took millions of mobile customers offline, while its Chinese rival Huawei faced mounting pressure from those who consider it a security risk.

On the latest Tech Tent podcast, we ask: can we trust the telecoms industry?

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Tech Tent: Missing Mark Zuckerberg

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Image caption An empty chair was prepared for Mark Zuckerberg

For three hours this week Richard Allan was in one of the world's most uncomfortable seats.

In a Westminster committee room, parliamentarians from nine countries battered Facebook's European policy chief, mostly over one issue: why was he there instead of Mark Zuckerberg?

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Facebook’s fiercest foe and the battle over bikinis

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Who should Facebook most fear as it battles a series of scandals about its handling of user data and its role in spreading fake news? US politicians perhaps, or maybe German privacy campaigners and EU regulators?

No, my nominee is the member of parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins.

Read full article Facebook’s fiercest foe and the battle over bikinis

Tech Tent - is it curtains for crypto?

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It was once the future of money but this week has seen Bitcoin lurch 20% lower, with other crypto-currencies suffering even more serious falls.

On Tech Tent we ask whether the dream of a decentralised currency that would overturn the established financial system is over - and whether the regulators need to step in to protect naive investors.

Read full article Tech Tent - is it curtains for crypto?

Is Facebook a friend to local journalism?

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Facebook, often seen as one of the factors behind the decline of local newspapers, has unveiled a scheme to train reporters to work in local communities across the UK.

The social media giant is giving £4.5m ($5.7m) to local newspaper groups, which will hire around 80 people to spend two years training to be community reporters.

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Tech Tent: Has Facebook reached peak crisis?

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Image caption Facebook has been criticised by privacy campaigners

Two of the biggest names in tech are facing serious questions about their ethics. Facebook stands accused of dirty tactics to smear opponents, Google of breaking promises on data.

On Tech Tent we look at a difficult week for the reputation of Silicon Valley.

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Facebook leaks take their toll

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We knew that Facebook's handling of its recent crises had been inept - Mark Zuckerberg's description of the idea that fake news put Donald Trump in the White House as "crazy" was a prime example.

But now the New York Times has painted a startling picture not just of negligence and mismanagement by Facebook's leaders but of deeply questionable tactics as they fought to protect the image of their company.

Read full article Facebook leaks take their toll

Fake news: Can teenagers spot it?

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Media captionWATCH: Can these teens spot fake news?

Fake news, misinformation, clickbait - whatever you choose to call it, it is one of the scourges of our times.

If we are to make it less of a threat to democracy, that effort is going to need to start in schools.

Read full article Fake news: Can teenagers spot it?

Tech Tent: The taxi wars

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Image caption Where to, mate?

Who is going to decide how we travel around our cities - Californian tech giants or local transport businesses?

On Tech Tent we hear from the UK firm helping local taxi operators take the fight to Uber and from an American scooter firm trying to change the law in Britain.

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