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Hillicon Valley: Huawei to move toward software development in wake of US restrictions | DeSantis signs bill to fine tech companies for banning politicians | Twitter to rollout ticketed Spaces to limited group of users

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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 by clicking HERE. 

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

Huawei is moving towards a software development-driven future after years of nations including the U.S. cracking down on its 5G hardware due to security concerns. Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill that will fine social media platforms for banning politicians, and Twitter will roll out ticketed options for its audio room feature. 

SOFTWARE SWITCH: Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s leadership is moving the company toward software development in the face of crippling pushback by many Western nations against use of the company’s hardware.

“First, we must dare to lead the world in the pure software domain,” Huawei Founder Ren Zhengfei wrote in an internal memo reviewed by The Hill. “Second, in domains where software overlaps with hardware, we should focus on optimizing software to complement hardware.”

The memo, first reported Monday by Reuters, was based on notes from two meetings Zhengfei held with scientists and software experts in April. It was only published internally this week. 

Zhengfei alluded to restrictions designed to prevent Huawei from doing business in the U.S., writing that by moving into the software development space, the “US will have very little control over our future development, and we have much autonomy.”

Read more here. 

FLORIDA TAKES ON TECH: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill Monday that will fine social media platforms that try to permanently ban political candidates. 

DeSantis and other Republicans have touted the bill as a way to protect Floridians over accusations of tech giants censoring GOP lawmakers, but it faced pushback from Democrats in the state legislature and the tech industry over imposing control over how platforms moderate content. 

The bill prohibits most tech companies from banning politicians in the state. Under the newly signed law, the Florida Election Commission can impose fines of $250,000 per day on any social media company that deplatforms any candidate for statewide office and $25,000 per day for deplatforming candidates for non-statewide offices. 

Read more about the new law

TICKETS FOR TWITTER: Twitter will start rolling out ticketed options for its audio room feature Spaces for some users, a company spokesperson said Monday. 

The social media platform said it will let hosts of the audio Spaces set the price for the tickets, and the host will be able to earn up to 80 percent of the revenue on ticket sales after Apple and Google’s in-app purchase fees are taken. Twitter is left to collect the remaining 20 percent of the revenue. 

“Hosts put time and effort into creating space for conversation, connection and fun. Now, we’re working on a way for hosts to be rewarded for the experiences they create by getting monetary support, while providing listeners with exclusive access to the conversations they care about most,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. 

Read more about the feature

ICYMI: CRYPTOCURRENCIES RAISE CONCERNS: Interest in cryptocurrencies has surged over the past year, and policymakers are scrambling to catch up. Investors have rushed into major digital currencies such as bitcoin and a growing industry of financial products tied to them, prompting regulators to lay out new rules for a rapidly growing world.

Financial regulators appointed by President Biden have recently pledged to crack down on any manipulation or abuse within the cryptocurrency industry, while advocates for the industry insist the government must lay out clear, consistent rules for all to follow.

Here are five reasons cryptocurrencies are spurring action from Washington, including concerns over security and risks related to new technologies.

Read more here. 

ICYMI: NO MORE CROPPING: Twitter says it is deactivating an automatic photo-cropping function after an investigation into claims the tool trended toward removing Black faces from photographs. 

Twitter’s director of software engineering Rumman Chowdhury wrote in a blog post this week that the company is removing the tool after reviewing the complaints, saying it would leave cropping decisions to its users.

“We considered the tradeoffs between the speed and consistency of automated cropping with the potential risks we saw in this research. One of our conclusions is that not everything on Twitter is a good candidate for an algorithm, and in this case, how to crop an image is a decision best made by people,” Chowdhury wrote. 

Read more about the update

Lighter click: Good 4 millennials

An op-ed to chew on: Biden’s plan for cyber is a day late and a dollar short

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Epic vs. Apple verdict will set the stage for future antitrust battles (Protocol / Ben Brody) 

Pro-Palestinian activists target Facebook with 1-star app store reviews (NBC / Olivia Solon) 

TikTok, the Fastest Way on Earth to Become a Food Star (The New York Times / Taylor Lorenz)

Tags Joe Biden Ron DeSantis

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