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Tech & Science DNA Testing Company 23andMe Lays Off 100 Employees, CEO Cites Privacy Concerns As Possible Factor

01:26  24 january  2020
01:26  24 january  2020 Source:   gizmodo.com.au

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Home DNA - testing company 23 andMe is laying off 100 employees , which is around 14 percent of its workforce. The layoffs primarily affect the operations team, according to a CNBC report that was published on Thursday. The downsizing reflects a shrinking market for DNA kits.

23 andMe , the popular DNA testing company , is laying off about 100 employees or 14 percent of its workforce as consumer demand for its kits has weakened. The company said that a variety of factors , including privacy concerns , could have contributed to the slowing market. “This has been slow and

a close up of a device: Photo: ERIC BARADAT/AFP, Getty© Photo: ERIC BARADAT/AFP, Getty Photo: ERIC BARADAT/AFP, Getty

The company behind a popular at-home DNA testing kits, 23andMe, has laid off roughly 100 employees amid waning demand for its product.

The company confirmed to Gizmodo that the layoffs amount to roughly 14 per cent of the company’s employees, adding that its “consumer business was impacted company-wide.” 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki told CNBC, which first reported the layoffs, that she was “surprised” by the shift in demand.

CNBC cited Wojcicki as noting privacy concerns could be one possible factor for the decline in sales, with Wojcicki telling the site that “privacy is top of mind” for the company and that it has recently brought on a new security chief. While CNBC reported that Wojcicki doesn’t have proof that consumer privacy fears are the primary driver for spiraling sales, it’s certainly one good rationale. There are plenty of other reasons at-home DNA testing kits are losing their novelty.

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23 andMe is laying off 100 people, mostly from its operations team, as consumer DNA tests are down. CEO Anne Wojcicki didn't have a clear explanation for that, but cited a variety of factors , including both recession fears and privacy concerns . Wojcicki said she anticipated that DNA testing would explode

The 23 andMe team is The 23 andMe team is laying off about 100 workers, or 14 percent of its total workforce, in light of declining sales. The job cuts will focus on units responsible for growing and scaling the company .

For one, research has found that these tests are not 100 per cent accurate or even a complete snapshot of an individual’s health profile. In fact, the tests have been known to flat out botch results. But if misleading or altogether inaccurate information isn’t enough of a reason for users to give the kits a pass, their privacy should be. For example, if sharing information related to your genetic profile with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline makes your skin crawl, 23andMe is not the product for you.

Still, restoring trust in the company’s policies around “privacy”—or, rather, the reanimated zombie version seemingly used by virtually everytechcompany, including the data butterfingers over at Facebook—appears to be one of the company’s foremost focuses right now. How else can you get away with selling a product asking people to fork over highly-sensitive and personal genetic information about themselves in the year 2020 if you don’t?

Do you have information about 23andMe you’d like to share? Contact ckeck@gizmodo.com or tip us anonymously throughSecure Drop.

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