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Recode Daily: How companies are getting around Trump’s Huawei ban

Plus: FTC goes after robocallers, LinkedIn dials down viral content, and Drive.ai closes up shop.

A person walking past a sign reading “Huawei.”
Under new Trump administration regulations, US tech companies aren’t supposed to be selling products to Huawei. But reportedly, some still are.
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

US tech companies are reportedly sidestepping Trump’s Huawei ban. Chipmakers like Intel and Micron have reportedly found a workaround to the recent ban on US firms selling electronics to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, according to New York Times sources. Since American suppliers often manufacture their products overseas, some of these products are not being classified as foreign-made in the transactions. As the Times’ Paul Mozur and Cecilia Kang write, “The deals underscore how difficult it is for the Trump administration to clamp down on companies that it considers a national security threat, like Huawei.” Reportedly, the Trump administration is aware of the sales but has yet to respond.
[Paul Mozur and Cecilia Kang / The New York Times]

The FTC and local government agencies announced their latest crackdown on robocallers. “Operation Call It Quits,” as it’s been called, went after nearly 100 companies and individuals in the past nine months. According to the FTC, tens of billions of robocalls are placed in the US every year. Some robocalling companies involved in the crackdown were specifically targeting senior citizens. These firms allegedly claimed to offer financial services such as lowering credit card interest rates as a ploy to get people to surrender their personal information. Such companies are now facing fines and legal challenges. “Today’s joint effort shows that combating this scourge remains a top priority for law enforcement agencies around the nation,” said Andrew Smith, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
[Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch]

LinkedIn is moving away from general viral content. The professional social networking site announced on Wednesday it’s changing its Feed algorithm to surface posts that “cater to niche professional interests” as opposed to “elevating viral content,” according to Axios. The company has said that what helped motivate the change was internal research showing that the top 1 percent of power users attracted a disproportionate amount of attention on the platform. LinkedIn hopes the change will prompt users to engage with posts rather than scroll past them. It’s the latest example of a social media company tweaking how it surfaces content in an attempt to encourage better user behavior.
[Sara Fischer / Axios]

Apple acquired self-driving startup Drive.ai. The iPhone manufacturing giant told Axios it bought the company and is hiring dozens of Drive.ai engineers. Drive.ai, which makes equipment that can add self-driving capabilities to existing vehicles, was valued at $200 million two years ago. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal. Prior to news of the sale, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Drive.ai was closing its California office and laying off 90 workers. The acquisition is expected to help Apple develop its own self-driving technology.
[Ina Fried and Kaveh Waddell / Axios]