Facebook & Apple donate millions of masks to workers
The move came after Trump invoked the DPA
Facebook and Apple have been under a lot of backlashes lately. Facebook is under fire for interfering in election results by fake news advertisements. Meanwhile, Apple was fined $27 million for intentionally slowing down older iPhones. However, these too-big-to-fail companies are trying to improve their public image. Facebook and Apple are collectively donating millions of masks to healthcare workers. And that probably has nothing to do with the Defense Production Act for the coronavirus emergency.
Apple donates to healthcare workers
Apple CEO Tim Cook made an unprecedented announcement yesterday on Twitter:
Our teams at Apple have been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19. We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe. To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 21, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) has been in massive shortage. So, the government has pleaded to the public and companies to donate their equipment to local hospitals. Vice President Mike Pence said in a press conference:
The president and I literally heard directly from Apple that they’re donating 2 million industrial masks to this effort around the country and working with our administration to distribute those.
However, it is still unclear why Apple had a huge batch of N95 masks — and how it got them. Apple did not respond to this speculation.
Facebook takes steps amid coronavirus crisis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the donation on his Facebook:
Health workers urgently need more protective gear. To help, Facebook donated our emergency reserve of 720,000 masks that we had bought in case the [California] wildfires continued. We’re also working on sourcing millions of more to donate. I hope you’re all staying healthy and safe!
Moreover, Facebook launched an information module regarding coronavirus last week. It is pinned to the top of users’ news feed, containing authentic news and updates. Zuckerberg also allowed more than 40,000 employees to work from their homes. Actually, Facebook went further than all to impress everyone. They offered $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to small businesses from its net income:
We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them. We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work. That’s why today I’m announcing that Facebook is investing $100 million to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where our employees live and work.
What is the Defense Production Act?
US President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act of 1950. But he has not actually enforced it. The act allows the President to enforce industries and factories to manufacture products essential for national security. In this case of coronavirus pandemic, it would involve large-scale manufacturing of N95 masks, protective equipment, ventilators, etc. However, Trump has been hesitant in enforcing the law, citing that companies were stepping up to help on their own. It is no coincidence that Apple and Facebook suddenly got generous out of the good of their heart.