It appears that there are now many user reports of Apple Silicon-based M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air machines failing after being connected to USB-C hubs with USB-C power delivery (that is, hubs which simultaneously supply power to the Mac).
Multiple threads on the issue have appeared on Reddit, MacRumors, and Apple’s own support forums.
The symptoms reported are a completely dead MacBook that will no longer power on and shows no signs of life. Several users report a clicking or tapping sound. It seems to happen at the time the power cable is plugged in or unplugged, or when the Mac is allowed to sleep with the hub connected. The only remedy is to return the MacBook to Apple for repair or exchange.
At the time of writing this article, there have been no reported cases of dead M1 MacBooks when using Apple’s own USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, or when using Thunderbolt 3 docks.
Update 25/2/21: macOS update 11.2.2, released on 25th February 2021, included a fix for the USB-C bricking issue. The release notes included with the fix attributed it to “certain third-party, non-compliant powered USB-C hubs and docks”, which is more than a little odd since several users in the threads linked above reported having their Macs bricked by hubs being sold by Apple themselves on their own website.