Major Tech Missteps and Controversies of 2020

The tech industry is one of the most powerful in the world, and it exerts tremendous influence on the lives of pretty much everybody that’s out there. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that just because tech companies are so powerful and influential doesn’t mean that they are going to be devoid of any kind of controversy. Tech companies are run by human beings, and humans make mistakes all of the time since this is in our very nature and is the kind of thing that most likely can’t be avoided no matter how hard you try.

One major misstep that occurred over the previous year had to do with Quibi. Started by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the man that ushered in a new golden age for Disney when he was the company’s CEO and then went on to found DreamWorks Animation Studios, Quibi was basically a streaming service that focused on short form content. The purpose of the service was that all of the content that would be available on it would be under ten minutes in length and that it would be optimized for viewing on mobile.

While this concept does sound pretty good on paper, after all we are moving towards a content landscape that is dominated by content made form mobile, it didn’t manage to make much of a mark. Part of this might have something or the other to do with the fact that Quibi favored hiring big name mainstream stars rather than internet stars that already had some kind of a following. What’s more is that the content Quibi provided for five dollars a month was not all that much higher in quality than what people could watch on YouTube for free. Quibi was such a huge failure that in spite of the fact that people are in lockdown this year due to the virus and are more eager than ever before to try out new streaming services, it still failed to capture a sizeable enough portion of the market.

Another major controversy that occurred this year had to do with TikTok. The app has been a rising star for over a year, capturing markets all around the world and giving really well established social media platforms like Facebook a run for their money. It has managed to become so successful, in fact, that many well known content creators have started publishing content on the platform in order to cash in on a new audience, and many of the content creators that started out on TikTok are becoming world famous as well.

However, the US government has not taken kindly to TikTok’s success. Amid claims of user privacy violations by the Chinese government due to TikTok being beholden to Chinese laws that require data to be made available to the government, US president Donald Trump decided to force TikTok to sell its holdings in America to an American company.

Perhaps the biggest scandal of the year had to do with the coronavirus pandemic and its widespread fallout. One thing that this virus has revealed about the manner in which we tend to approach these things is that they create a lot of misinformation that needs to be dealt with on a regular basis. This misinformation is channeled through various social media platforms and while the platforms have tried to stop said misinformation from spreading its very existence is a worrying sign for the state of humanity. Some truly wildest conspiracy theories have come out this year, and they have created a lot of controversies that the tech industry is currently struggling to deal with to a large extent. Such controversies come with the territory in the world of tech, though.

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