Hashtag Trending, March 16, 2021 – Rogers’ $26B bid for Shaw; Head offices disappearing in Calgary; Tinder’s background checks

Hashtag Trending, March 16, 2021 – Rogers’ $26B bid for Shaw; Head offices disappearing in Calgary; Tinder’s background checks

Rogers signs an agreement to purchase Shaw Communications for $26 billion, the office vacancy rate in Calgary becomes a concerning trend, and dating apps look into background checks.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday, March 16, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.

Rogers has signed an agreement to purchase Shaw Communications and its subsidiary Freedom Mobile for $26 billion. If the deal – which is inclusive of approximately $6 billion of Shaw debt – goes through, the Shaw family will become Roger’s largest shareholder. The deal will be subjected to regulatory scrutiny and is expected to close in the first half of 2022. In addition to the concerns about how one of Canada’s biggest telcos potentially just got a lot bigger, people have pointed out the diverging views the two companies have on mobile overage charges. Paul McAleese, president of Shaw Communications, once described data overage fees as “toxic revenue.” Freedom Mobile does not charge data overage fees for all of its subscribers and chooses to throttle their speeds instead.

Calgary has seen nine head offices disappear and according to The Star, that’s equated to 3,600 lost head-office jobs, thanks in large part to a struggling energy sector. While the city is still broadly ahead of the country when it comes to head-office roles on a per capita basis, the president of the Business Council of Alberta says that trend is still concerning. These offices tend to help attract clusters of supporting companies. Unfortunately, enterprise property consulting and management firm CBRE says the office vacancy rate in downtown Calgary hit a record 29.5 per cent at the end of last year. Questions are now swirling around about what the City should do with its vacant spaces. Got an idea? Leave it in the comments.

And lastly, The Verge is reporting that Tinder and other Match Group-owned apps are going to let their users run background checks on possible dates. Following an investment in the nonprofit company Garbo, which allows people to run background checks with only their first name and phone number or full name, Tinder users will be able to vet their dates with details like their arrest record and history of violence. Naturally, people are concerned about the accuracy of these background checks, and Reddit quickly put its stamp on the story suggesting Garbo is actually a code word for Garbage. At least Garbo has said it won’t publicize drug possession charges in order to take an “active stance toward equity,” citing research that says there’s a disproportionate percentage of Black people who are arrested for drug charges compared to white people.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening!