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Facebook hit with privacy, "shadow profile" controversies
Facebook stirred more controversy this year as it attempted to balance privacy and free speech, but couldn't manage to do either.
The world's largest social network, with more than one billion users worldwide, collected information on people who weren't even signed up to the social network. This "bug" spanned a year beginning in 2012 and affected more than six million users. The data related to people who had expressly not given their permission for Facebook to collect their data, including email addresses and phone numbers. For those who protect their data, it was a privacy flop of epic proportions.
Also, the company found itself in hot water after it decided to first ban and then permit videos of people being decapitated. Either way, Facebook couldn't escape controversy. In any case, Facebook's decision was going to royally screw up at least someone's day.
Image: James Martin/CNET
FBI inadvertently brings file-sharing battle to worldwide attention
If you're going to bring someone down, try to do it quietly. In the FBI's case, the federal agency failed miserably when it tried to extradite alleged pirate king Kim Dotcom to the U.S.
The trouble is the FBI picked the wrong guy to start a war with. Despite throwing the full weight of the New Zealand police to launch a look-a-like anti-terrorist operation against for charges of "racketeering, money laundering, and copyright theft," he ultimately evaded U.S. authorities.
Dotcom dusted himself off and relaunched his newly branded file service startup. As for the New Zealand authorities, they were slapped for "illegal spying" which forced the country's prime minister to publicly apologize.
Image: Kim Dotcom/Twitter
Windows 8 struggles to grasp usage share; updates aim to redirect course
Months after Windows 8 launched, the operating system barely grasped single-digit market share. Many considered it a flop, but to others it was a starting ground for better things to come.
It was criticized for its game-changing user interface. It was difficult to use for some who had been used to the typical 'Windows' experience for many years prior.
And for those using desktops and notebooks without touch screens — a large majority of the overall user base — it was just too much for some to relearn. The fact that Microsoft killed the Start menu also killed the company's hope of millions of people upgrading.
Ultimately it led the software giant down a course of eating humble pie, resulting in Windows 8.1, a software update that attempted to appease (and entice) customers who were thrown off by the first round of changes. The Start menu was brought back — in a sense — and booting directly to desktop may have had some positive impact on less-than-pleased customers.
Many forgot that Microsoft isn't just a "Windows" company anymore.