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The Download: China’s influencer crackdown, and covid’s origins


No one had foreseen simply how briskly three of China’s strongest influencers would fall. On June 3, Austin Li, a 30-year-old live-streamer with over 60 million followers, abruptly reduce off a reside stream after a tank-shaped ice cream dessert appeared on the display. While he later posted that it was as a result of “technical difficulties,” most individuals perceive it as having triggered authorities censors, who interpreted it as a reference to the Tiananmen Square bloodbath.

Li isn’t identified to have been arrested, and his account stays lively, however he hasn’t streamed or posted on social media since. Fans suspect he will not be allowed to stream once more.

Live-streaming e-commerce in China is a large business value over $180 billion. Influencers like Li have risen to rival the recognition of A-list celebrities, and have been identified to facilitate billions of {dollars} value of on-line purchases in a single night time. 

But in Li’s and not less than two different instances, these on-line empires have been toppled in a single day in what seems to be a authorities crackdown extending again to late 2021—suggesting a reckoning is effectively underway.  Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 We’re nonetheless being stored at the hours of darkness in regards to the origins of covid
We want extra information from China, a brand new WHO report says. (NYT $)
+ It additionally needs to research the speculation it was leaked from a lab additional. (WP $)
+ Meet the scientist on the heart of the lab leak controversy. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Quantum computer systems might create a completely new types of matter
The likes of which have by no means been seen earlier than in nature. (New Scientist $)
+ Data is liable to being damaged by computer systems that don’t even exist but. (Spectrum IEEE)
+ The US is already involved in regards to the risk they pose to encryption. (MIT Technology Review)

3 How eBay sellers are evading its ban on assault weapons
Some listings are blatant about what they’re promoting, whereas others are extra delicate. (LA Times)
+ While you’re theoretically not allowed to promote weapons on Facebook, you must break that rule 10 instances for it to be enforced. (WP $)

4  Is group governance the reply to social media’s issues?
Relying on the cooperation of strangers is dangerous, however so is permitting one man unfettered energy over a platform. (The Atlantic $)
+ Eight authorized complaints have been filed in opposition to Facebook this week. (Protocol)
+ Big Tech spent $36 million on adverts opposing a US antitrust invoice. (WSJ $)

5 NASA is becoming a member of to hunt for UFOs 🛸
It needs to gather information on phenomena we don’t perceive. (WP $)
+ Astronomers are rethinking how the planets got here to be. (Quanta)
+ A key substance for all times has been present in asteroid samples. (CNET)
+ Japan’s house company is experimenting with a four-legged lunar robotic. (CNN)

6 East Asians’ eyesight is getting worse
More daylight publicity would possibly assist future generations, although. (Economist $) 

7 Stimulating your muscle tissue with electrical energy is the most well liked new health pattern
But there’s no proof it’s more practical than good quaint train. (Neo.Life)

8 Silicone breast implants are nonetheless making girls sick
Despite their points being identified for many years. (Slate)

9 The web was speculated to make life simpler
Now we’re reliant on middlemen our grandparents by no means wanted. (The Atlantic $)

10 The ethical implications of whether or not animals dream 💤
And why we could, at some point, know what they’re dreaming about. (Motherboard)

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