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The Sundar-ing

12 December Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 60

Facebook's practical joke on publishers  

We really shouldn't jestIt's the biggest overhaul Facebook's algorithm has seen in ages, impacting all publishers on the Facebook feed targeting our reads, view, impressions, shares and likes. Facebook is de-prioritising news on its feed, in favour of the fluffy stuff we all like: our friends' babies, dogs, emotional statuses, recommendations, Premier League induced rage, and the like.

Zuck is looking to make FB a bit more wholesome, and distance itself from fake news – this is probably good, although some of us are slightly irked that they have the power to unilaterally decide what goes on our feed but hey, let's be grateful. But what about the poor publishing execs and Facebook's viral promise land of impressions on steroids? Understandably, there's a little bit of vitriol going around.

But Facebook's market cap has taken a real hit – 25 billion dollars is no small number – and we still have nothing nice to say about it? Brands and publishers are seeing opportunities too, aiming to put out more meaningful content which doesn't just feed into the shares/likes/traffic loop. Gen Z publications launched after the Facebook honeymoon period finished, like the impressively creative, if righteously radical, The Outline, are saying this could free journalists from the pressure of share numbers and traffic targets. No one likes those… 

Geek Out

Speaking of publishers… check out how horrible your big name publishers looked in 2008. is a portal into the past, when there was only one kind of iPhone. The New York Times actually looks pretty similar…

Be Cautious

Everyone's talking about talk. When it wasn't mocking its many mishaps, coverage of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has been predominantly about voice assistants, and voice controlled interfaces. How they will save UX, how they bring about the humanisation of tech and also, of course, how they will bring about certain doom. But what if your kid learns to boss other people around like it can Alexa? And do you want all your weird music requests sitting on Amazon's servers? 

Impress Your Friends

How much data is in your DNA? If you had your DNA sequenced, where would you store it? How much space would the DNA of the whole population take up? Who would own that? These are some questions recent chat about using sequencing with the aim of preventing disease, not just treating it, have caused. Wired goes into some numbers, and some ethics. I mean, you could use HATs for that 😉

Elsewhere in techland

Banking is now officially open. PSD2 (Second Payment Services Directive) came into force on Saturday. It's as boring a title as boring can be, but it's actually a BFD for banks. They now have to issue APIs for user-consented third party access, which all sounds gravy in terms of giving people more access to their spending data, and getting new services on it, but it means spending data will now collide with other things: social media and advertising to name a few...  

The HATDeX team is in Portugal for a sprint and I am not. Send sympathies, little clucks of compassion and a hug 😔

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief
HAT News

Portugaaaaaaal. The HAT team is sprinting again, this time in a miserable hovel in sunny Portugal – we'll send postcards.

On Medium(s). We're going to be talking about the HAT in three ways this year: to the world, to our supporters, and to HAT users. The newest of these is our outreach to the world, which we'll do on Medium. Follow us there for original insights, talks, and writing.

High fives to HAT startups. Here's a big round of applause to the HAT Innovation teams at Good-Loop, Noggin, B.Heard, Feral Horses, Bear Health Tech, and Maven for a great 2017 – our first as a community. Here's to 2018 and all it holds!

Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager
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