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Gloves off

22 May Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 99 (eeeee!)
Is it still ze Russianses?
The Americans are at the polls.
The day after a new national poll on Brexit was released showing a (possible) reversal of sentiment on the debacle-of-a-national-referendum that saw the UK opt to leave the EU, Americans are also going to the polls, many of them hoping for their own reversal of ill fortune.

Last time around, the rage was all of Russians stealing the elections, and Zuckerberg selling us up the creek. That is not "not a problem" this time around. There is a lot of nervousness around the voting machines being used across the country, and recent stories in Vice and the BBC have showcased just how porous Facebook's 'authenticity in advertising' efforts really are (read: worthless). In this election, as in past elections, we are all just as manipulable as we have ever been.

This time around, though (at the very least) we're paying a little more attention to the shenanigans. In the lead-ups to this trip round the polls, Twitter and Facebook have deleted thousands of fake accounts attempting to influence peoples' actions and opinions. Twitter removed more than 10,000 accounts that were discouraging people from voting, and Facebook's 115 reported (sourced in Iran originally, apparently) had racked up over a million likes between them, which is a lot of reach.

And that's just what got to the reporters - who knows what's happening behind the closed doors.

There is at least some healthy messaging (j'espere) in here somewhere. If democracy wasn't such an important and valuable thing to be doing we wouldn't have nearly the same number of people trying to stop us from it - so yay us to some extent I suppose.

Good luck to America in dodging and sustaining all this mess as they head to the vote. There's enough horror and malady in the rhetoric spewing around from the actual politicians there as it is - no one needs to add the despair that can come from a rigged system to it.

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

Fresh from Web Summit

TBL wants us to "do better, world." He said so in a speech launching the Web Summit in Lisbon.

The present

Red Dead Redemption (a videogame) just set the record for highest debut weekend gross in entertainment history: USD $725 million worldwide.

An article espousing the values of the humanities in the Harvard Business Review contained a quote that made us cringe. "...Zuckerberg is just a leading character in a culture - in tech and beyond - that celebrates the unprepared overachiever. (...) unprepared overachievers have no patience to ponder the implications of their work." Fair or not, it's an interesting thought. How much power do we want these types of people to have in the next generation of our society?

The future

Jessica Lessin, the very insightful Editor of the Information (which you can subscribe to here, should you like to) suggested maybe it is not yet time to give up on Snap, despite pretty poor performance. It still has buckets of time-spent-per-user to boast, and many social platforms have seen dips the way it did and weathered the storm. We'll see.
A new US data privacy law was proposed on the 1st of November by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden that calls for fines matching GDPR's punishments for data breach, and twenty year prison terms for executives in violation. The bill also calls for a national "Do Not Track" registry and personal fines of USD $5m or more when things go awry. Sen. Wyden is not up for re-election in today's midterms.

The doghouse

Facebook's ad transparency rules are "useless", according to the Guardian's Carole Cadwalladr. She created and posted an ad purporting to be from Cambridge Analytica, which was posted to Facebook successfully and shown to thousands of viewers. So it's as simple as a few clicks to post obviously fraudulent ads to Facebook. Yay! We're all doomed.

Comic of the week
Uhrbody loves a vote.

HAT News

Home sweet home. Welcome back to the UK Irene.

Pricing and business. So all the work around HATs, we are now in serious work on a new pricing strategy for DEX business. Release in Q1 2019 - I'm excited to talk to you about it some more.

Want to intern on the HAT? With new growth comes new talent - if you're bored we're in the process of hiring a few interns. Get in touch.


Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager

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