Hillicon Valley: Apple cutting iPhone production | Senior citizens more likely to share fake news on Facebook | Graham says AG nominee will let Mueller finish probe | Dems warn shutdown hurting IT recruitment

Hillicon Valley: Apple cutting iPhone production | Senior citizens more likely to share fake news on Facebook | Graham says AG nominee will let Mueller finish probe | Dems warn shutdown hurting IT recruitment
© Getty Images

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig).


MORE BAD NEWS FROM APPLE: Apple has scaled back its planned production of the three newest iPhone models for the first quarter of 2019, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The news outlet, citing reports from the Nikkei Asian Review, said Apple has requested lower production of the XS, XS Max and XR models of the iPhone. The reduction came as a result of weakened iPhone demand in China, which is the world's largest smartphone market.


The request to cut production came prior to Apple slashing its earnings forecast last week.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a CNBC interview broadcast Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the company's prospects moving forward and downplayed the impact of an ongoing trade dispute between China and the U.S.

Last week, Cook said there is no widespread boycott of Apple products in China after reports emerged that the company was facing backlash over the trade dispute.

Read more on Apple's woes here.


WHO WILL FACT CHECK GRANNY? Facebook users over the age of 65 were much more likely to have shared fake news stories on the site during 2016 presidential campaign than any other age group, according to a new study from researchers at Princeton University and New York University.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday, found that users 65 years and older were more than twice as likely to share links from fake news sites as those in the next oldest age group of 45 to 65 years old. And they were nearly seven times as likely to share such links as users in the youngest age group surveyed.

The journal article found that sharing fake news links was rare among its respondents. Only 8.5 percent of those surveyed were found to have shared any such links.

It also found that those on the conservative end of the political spectrum were more likely than those identifying as liberals to have shared fake news items.

Read more on the study here.


BEZOS ANNOUNCES DIVORCE: Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are getting a divorce, the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner announced Wednesday.

"As our family and close friends know, after a long period loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," Bezos wrote in a note posted to Twitter. "We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other."

"Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends," he added.

Bezos, 54, and Mackenzie, 48, were married in early 1993, according to the Post. They met while working at a New York-based hedge fund. They have four children.

The two undertook a number of charitable efforts together. In September, they announced a $2 billion philanthropic fund to finance a new network of preschools and contribute to nonprofits assisting homeless families.

The couple made their first major political donation last year, giving $10 million to a super PAC dedicated to helping veterans in both parties get elected to Congress.

More here.


GRAHAM SAYS MUELLER SAFE FROM BARR: Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet Why Trump's bigoted tropes won't work in 2020 The Memo: Toxic 2020 is unavoidable conclusion from Trump tweets MORE (R-S.C.) said ahead of a high-stakes confirmation hearings that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE's nominee for attorney general will let special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE finish his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"I can assure you he has a very high opinion of Mr. Mueller and he is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his job," Graham said on Wednesday after a meeting with William Barr, according to Reuters.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which Graham chairs, is scheduled to hold hearings next week for Barr.

The nominee has drawn criticism from Democrats for writing an unsolicited memo last year to the White House criticizing Mueller's investigation, saying that the probe into possible obstruction of justice on Trump's part was based on a "fatally misconceived" theory.

Some Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants MORE (D-N.Y.), have argued that the memo disqualifies Barr from heading the Department of Justice (DOJ) and thus overseeing the Mueller probe.

Schumer on Wednesday called on Trump to withdraw Barr's nomination.

More on the nominee here.


SHUTDOWN'S LATEST CASUALTY: Rep. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question CBC lawmakers rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats MORE (D-Ill.) warned Wednesday that the ongoing government shutdown will hurt the federal government's ability to attract top IT staff.

In a statement, Kelly -- the chair of the House Oversight subcommittee on IT -- said the partial shutdown "will also make it more difficult for the government to attract and maintain the high-quality IT workforce needed to delivery 21st century government services."

"How can we ever hope to recruit or maintain IT talent when hardworking government workers are told: 'sorry, you aren't getting paid, but you still need to come to work' or 'sorry, but no paycheck this week because of politics?'" she said. "Large private sector companies never say this to their employees and these are our competitors when it comes to IT talent recruitment."


Kelly said that she would vote in favor of a House bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, as well as other bills to fund other federal agencies impacted by the partial shutdown.


A LIGHTER CLICK: This is what we call "self-growth."



How a Russian firm helped catch an alleged NSA data thief. (Politico)

Samsung phone users perturbed to find they can't delete Facebook. (Bloomberg)

Ignore 5G, for now. (Wired)

Health is Apple's next really big thing. (Axios)

Government shutdown hits cybersecurity recruitment fair. (CyberScoop)