If you ever wondered if we really needed technology, 2020 was the year that proved it. Between the pandemic, working and schooling from home, and the ability to stay in touch for just about everything else, there were a lot of big wins that came from the tech world. But there were also a lot of fails that happened too. Here are a few of the biggest technology “oops” we saw for both programs and practices in 2020 that we’re glad have moved on.
A star-studded debut followed by a spectacular flop was Quibi – Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s answer to creating a new kind of social media to compete with TikTok, YouTube and most meme creators out there. Promoting Quibi as a way to create and share “quick bites that tell big stories,” Quibi used big names to promote it including Steven Spielberg and Crissy Teigen. Unfortunately, even those big names couldn’t save Quibi, and it folded a mere 6 months after its debut.
Not Safe for Zoom
During the pandemic, using video conferencing technology became the norm for everything from work, school and socializing. But inviting people into your home via video conferencing brought with it the hazards of accidently sharing what should remain private. For example, there was the infamous toilet flush that sounded out as the Supreme Court held oral arguments. While some background videos were cute with kids and dogs popping in and out of the frame, many professionals showed sides of themselves that people didn’t want to see, hurting their jobs and reputations along the way.
Another tech flop related to video conferencing is when security failed and hackers were able to crash zoom meetings and share whatever they wanted. Hate groups, lewd conduct, and just plain annoying persons would join Zoom meetings and disrupt work and school. Since that happened, however, Zoom has built into their systems the security needed to protect the many people that continue to use their service to this day.
A game that had been built up and talked about for nearly a decade debuted in 2020, and then delivered a stunning failure that the gaming world has rarely seen. Promoted by big name celebrities, most notably Keanu Reeves, Cyberpunk 2077 was heralded as the most anticipated game of the century. Eight million people pre-ordered copies ahead of its release, but the vast virtual world of Cyberpunk 2077 was overwhelmed with problems from day one. Players encountered a ton of glitches ranging from hilarious to game-breaking. Sony pulled the game from PlayStation stores a week after its release, offering full refunds for anyone who wanted one – numbering in the millions.
Celebrity Twitter Hack
On July 15, Twitter suffered a large-scale attack by bitcoin cyberscammers that targeted 130 high-profile accounts — with the social network’s security compromised by “a combination of technical breaches and social engineering,” according to U.S. law enforcement authorities. The hackers, who allegedly included two teens, briefly were able to hijacked big-name Twitter accounts including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, Wiz Khalifa, Apple, Uber and Square’s Cash App.
Social Media Misinformation
In addition to cyberhacking, another big issue in 2020 for social media was the intense spreading of misinformation. While this has always been an issue, it seems that the COVID-19 pandemic brought out the worst. With so many people conducting their business and social lives online, it was the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals, activists and pretty much anyone else who wanted to spread false information at will. Here are a few examples of social media misinformation campaigns and what they caused in 2020:
- Numerous conspiracy theories linking the development of 5G connectivity to COVID-19, resulting in acts of cell tower vandalism and assault against telecom employees.
- Bill Gates being accused of masterminding COVID-19 or using the pandemic to implant people with microchips—despite his long history of contributing to disease-fighting causes and efforts.
- Rampant falsehoods about the presidential election candidates, issues, and social state of the country.
Only after extended misuse of their platforms and when taken to task for allowing this to continue unchecked by the federal government did the social media platforms step up to set boundaries and guidelines and do what they can to stop this practice.