Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

TGIF. Here’s what’s going down in tech land.


1. Uber to refund Sydney riders

On Wednesday, when Sydney’s train network shat itself, commuters trying to get home turned to Uber. But Uber did what Uber do: sent ride prices through the roof. Transport minister David Elliott said he was “absolutely disgusted that Uber have decided to take advantage of an unfortunate situation in Sydney” and Uber has promised to reimburse customers who paid high surge prices. Per Pedestrian.TV, Uber said that “as soon as our team became aware of the train disruption, we immediately lowered and capped surge to still incentivise driver-partners who were helping Sydneysiders get home, while making rides more affordable for those stranded”.

2. Instagram, TikTok go down and the world falls apart

TikTok last night experienced problems, with some users struggling to watch videos. Bloomberg was reporting that Down Detector was showing around 8,500 reports of outages, starting at about 9 pm AEDT. Per the report, some TikTok users were receiving messages saying that the site “couldn’t load video” as they tried to use the app. It followed Instagram earlier in the day going offline. In a statement posted on Twitter just after 4 pm AEDT, Instagram said the bug had been resolved.

3. Commonwealth Bank’s Indonesian subsidiary suffers cyber incident

Earlier this week, Commonwealth Bank confirmed its Indonesian subsidiary was the victim of a cyber attack. The subsidiary, PT Bank Commonwealth, experienced an ‘incident’ that relates to unauthorised access of a web-based software application used for project management. While Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s systems are segregated from the subsidiary’s systems, it said it was working closely with the bank and supporting its efforts “in this matter”.

4. New campaign to help telco customers

The ACMA has launched a consumer education campaign to raise awareness of assistance available to customers having difficulty paying their telco bills. The campaign’s theme is ‘Tell your telco – they can help’. The ACMA said telecommunication is an essential service and that it recognises anyone at any time can find themselves in vulnerable circumstances. The new campaign will help customers understand that options are available under consumer protection rules and they should contact their telco for help should they ever find themselves in financial hardship. This could include customers who find themselves unwell, unemployed, experiencing domestic or family violence, affected by a natural disaster or unable to pay your bill for other reasons.

5. Xero to cut 700-800 staff

Following Atlassian’s shock announcement this week that the tech success was laying off 500 of its staff, cloud accounting firm Xero will be bidding farewell to about 800 of its workers. The New Zealand-founded company said it was cutting between 700 and 800 positions to “improve profitability”. Per a report from 9News, Xero employed 4,915 people in September last year, meaning it will sack about 16 per cent of its workforce, but it’s not clear where the jobs will be cut from. In the last year, more than 70,000 people globally have been laid off by Big Tech companies – and that doesn’t count the downstream effect of contractors (and other organisations) losing business as budgets tighten.

BONUS ITEM: We went hands-on with the new yellow iPhone 14.

Have a fab weekend.

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