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A new survey about Americans’ sentiments over companies working with the Chinese government is highlighting pressure facing Apple, the same day CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to appear with President Biden at an announcement about a chip manufacturing investment in Arizona.

In other news, Meta’s Oversight Board slammed the company’s use of a “cross-check” program for select high-profile users and urged an overhaul that emphasizes transparency.

This is Hillicon Valley, we’re Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare. Let’s jump in.

Poll: Americans less likely to do business with companies working with China 

A new poll finds a majority of Americans say they are less likely to do business with major companies working with the Chinese government amid a crackdown on citizen-led protests, further highlighting pressure facing tech giant Apple.

The poll commissioned by the conservative advocacy group Convention of States Action in partnership with the Trafalgar Group found 77 percent of surveyed Americans said they are less likely to do business with major companies working with the “Chinese Communist Party to censor citizen-led protests in China,” according to the survey results exclusively obtained by The Hill.

The poll does not specifically name Apple, but the results published Tuesday come as the Silicon Valley giant is reportedly accelerating plans to shift some of its production outside China after mounting pressure over reported uprisings at an Apple plant in Zhengzhou. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend Apple told suppliers to plan more activity for creating Apple products in other parts of Asia.

  • The sentiment in the Convention of States Action survey was shared by 71 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of Republicans, according to the poll.
  • The poll surveyed 1,085 Americans between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3. The margin of error is 2.9 percent. The participants were overwhelmingly white, at 71 percent, and more than half were age 45 and older.  

The background: Apple has caught flak over a move in China to limit an AirDrop function that allowed protesters to share photos and circumvent censorship tactics. The update, which initially only applied to phones sold in mainland China and came weeks before protests erupted, is expected to expand to others countries next year, Bloomberg reported.

The timing: The poll was released the same day Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to attend an event with President Biden in Arizona where the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is set to announce it will increase its investment in the state from $12 billion to $40 billion. The Taiwan-based TSMC is the world’s largest contact chipmaker and a major supplier to Apple.

TSMC is also set to announce that it will build a second facility in Arizona that will produce 3-nanometer chips by 2026.

The latest investment comes as Biden aims to boost the domestic semiconductor industry to compete with China’s chip market. In August, the president signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law to boost the industry. 

Board slams Meta’s ‘cross-check’ 

The Meta Oversight Board is urging the owner of Facebook and Instagram to overhaul its “cross-check” program that delays enforcing content moderation measures for politicians, celebrities and other high-profile users.

The program allows for posts that would otherwise be “quickly removed” to remain posted and potentially cause harm based on a system that appears “structured to satisfy business concerns,” the board said in a 57-page advisory published Tuesday.

The board, made up of academics, experts and civic leaders, calls for Facebook parent company Meta to make the program more transparent and prioritize expression that is important for human rights.

The recommendation followed a roughly 13-month review spawned after the program was revealed as part of a Wall Street Journal report that included disclosures from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Meta’s response: Meta said in an updated blog post it will review the board’s recommendations and respond within 90 days.

Read more here

MORE TIKTOK CONCERNS

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines is warning parents about risks to their children’s data privacy on the social media platform TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Haines said it is “extraordinary” how adept the Chinese government is at “collecting foreign data.” 

“And their capacity to then turn around and use it, to target audiences for information campaigns but also to have it for the future to use it for a variety of means,” she said. 

When Mitchell asked if parents should be worried, Haines responded, “I think you should be.” 

Read more here.  

APPLE ILLEGALLY INTERFERED WITH UNION EFFORTS: LABOR BOARD

Apple illegally interfered with union organizing efforts at an Atlanta store by holding mandatory meetings to discourage union membership, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found.

The NLRB also found merit behind allegations that the Apple store at Cumberland Mall in Atlanta interrogated workers about union support and activities, solicited grievances and told workers that union membership would result in less favorable terms of employment.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), a national communications and media union, initially filed a complaint against Apple Cumberland Mall in May. CWA previously petitioned for a union election at the store but withdrew its request as a result of “Apple’s repeated violations.”

Read more here.  

HYBRID EVENT INVITE

Risk to Resilience: Cyber & Climate Solutions to Bolster America’s Power Grid — Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. ET

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act provide billions of dollars to transform America’s energy system. The White House projects they will decrease U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by about 40 percent by 2030, while also boosting energy resiliency and security. The Hill sits down with policymakers and industry leaders to discuss cyber and climate-focused solutions for boosting the resiliency of America’s power grid. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), DOE Cybersecurity, Energy Security & Emergency Response Director Puesh Kumar are more join The Hill and the Bipartisan Policy Center. RSVP to join in-person or online.

GOOGLE LAUNCHES ANTI-MISINFORMATION EFFORT IN INDIA

Google has announced a new initiative aimed at addressing the spread of misinformation in India, which has been blamed for the rise of violence in the country.

The latest initiative from Google’s subsidiary, Jigsaw, will use a “prebunking” video feature in an effort to stop false claims before they become more widespread, according to Reuters.

Jigsaw is also working with partners such as the German-based pro-democracy organization Alfred Landecker Foundation and philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network to produce five videos in three different languages.

Read more here.  

👾 BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Is the clock ticking for TikTok? 

Notable links from around the web:

Elon Musk Has Outfitted Twitter’s Headquarters With Bedrooms For Employees (Forbes / Cyrus Farivar and Katharine Schwab)

Computer Science Students Face a Shrinking Big Tech Job Market (The New York Times / Natasha Singer and Kalley Huang)

One more thing: Musk medical company faces probe

Neuralink, the medical device company owned by Elon Musk, is under investigation from a federal agency for alleged animal welfare violations, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General’s office opened the probe at the request of a federal prosecutor, Reuters reported, citing sources. Investigators are reportedly looking at potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Neuralink, which launched in 2016, is developing a brain implant to help paralyzed people walk again. Musk this month announced the company could place the implant device in a human brain for a clinical trial in about six months.

Read more here.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow!

Tags Apple Biden Elon Musk Meta Tim Cook Tim Cook TSMC US-China relations

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