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For big tech platforms, one of the more urgent questions to arise during the pandemic’s early months was how the forced closure of offices would change their approach to content moderation. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter all rely on huge numbers of third-party contract workers to police their networks, and traditionally those workers have worked side by side in big offices. When tech companies shuttered their offices, they closed down most of their content moderation facilities as well.
© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Happily, they continued to pay their moderators — even those who could no longer work, because their jobs required them to use secure facilities. But with usage of social networks surging and an election on the horizon, the need for moderation had never been greater. And so Silicon Valley largely shifted moderation duties to automated systems.
The question was whether it would work — and
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The U.S. government has passed new rules that seem destined to shake things up in the smartphone industry. While the rules may have been implemented with China’s Huawei in mind, they could also have consequences for Huawei’s competitors and suppliers. How this could all play out is what will be covered next.
How we got to this point
Huawei got put on the U.S. government’s Entity List back in May 2019, which restricted its ability to source supplies from U.S. companies, semiconductors in particular. Huawei response to these restrictions was to rely more on its own chip designs from its subsidiary HiSilicon and less on those from the U.S. But in order to do this, Huawei needed the assistance of foundries such as TSMC (TSM).
Foundries were therefore of special interest when the U.S. government made its sanctions even tougher in May 2020. Foundries rely heavily on semiconductor manufacturing equipment