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Eating the Crappy Stuff

19 February Subscribe
Tech news, HAT-slanted 
Issue 129

The end of news

Apparently Reuters puts out a report every year highlighting the state of digital news.

“Against a global backdrop of populism, political and economic instability, and concern over the role of tech giants in society […] the survey examines how the news is serving the needs of its consumers in this environment.”

Globally, the ratio of those paying for their news (which absolutely does not include me, and I consume a buttload of news (it’s a known metric)) has increased (yay!) very slightly (booo). The growth came from a few Scandinavians. And apparently even in countries where people do pay for stuff they pay for only a single source of stuff. Paid, multi-source news content is not a thing we consume as a citizenry.

In addition, people are turning away from Facebook, and now “WhatsApp is becoming the primary social communication tool for news in many countries in the Global South including Brazil (53% usage for news), Malaysia (50%) and South Africa (49%).” This may be because concerns about misinformation are growing (though that doesn’t ring true to me really), as efforts by both publishers and platforms are enacted to fight “fake news” slash the Russian deep state. This is troubling. Facebook isn’t great but to quit it completely means the world would lose one channel to coordinate en masse, whether it is to help in cases of natural disasters or pass the word about the latest food fad that would make your life just a tad adventurous.

Around the world, we’re entering more and more of a dystopian hellscape of reality, as our trust in the very information we have built our existence around erodes and evaporates. Last year, we trusted the news 2% less than the 42% we had the year prior, and less than half of us (49%) trust the news that we ourselves use to self-inform. That is, at least, if you trust Reuters.

How do we live in a world where we can't even trust "information." How does that human story unfold?

*uncontrollable sobbing*

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The present

The saddest of dogs. The Atlantic reports that furry friends have two extra facial muscles wolves lack, giving them extra-expressive eyes.  They use them to put on that "adopt me" look you find so irresistable. Evolution in action.


Katie Jones on the Washington politcal scene, she was real. Her persona was part of a vast army of phantom profiles lurking on Linkedin.

The past

How people use / have used wikipedia - an essay.

Food delivery is hard. Amazon will be shutting down its four-year-old Restaurants delivery service in the US.

The future

Could big tech be forcing change in International anti-trust? The US Assistant Attorney General said it could now be about more than just low prices in a recent speech.

No more gas cars in Ireland from 2030! Baaaaaaam now that’s a policy.

HAT News

Nasi! A warm welcome aboard to the best of us, Nasi Rwigema who's joining from the London School of Business (London Business School?) for the summer

Rides. We're working on an Uber plug, don't tell anybody.

Directions. Can data help the blind navigate? Let's find out.

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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