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These are the biggest tech turkeys of 2016

We look back at the biggest mistakes, controversies, and screw-ups from the tech world this year.

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Topic: Security
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Google's Allo encryption flip-flop by storing messages forever

It started out with so much promise: Google Allo, a new messaging app that would take on Apple's dominance. And it even came with end-to-end encryption -- but there was a catch. You had to turn on the encryption first which, in an age of paranoia, wasn't enough. That drew ire from privacy experts and security researchers alike -- even Edward Snowden took a swipe at it. He called the app "dangerous" and "unsafe," and advised users not to use the app until the default encryption issue was fixed. What did Google do to fix the problem? Nothing. It reversed its position entirely and began storing messages indefinitely -- for every intelligence agency to see.

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Brexit turns the UK into a pariah state for startup tech

Britain's decision to leave the European Union sent the country into meltdown. What now, many asked? The impact became clear almost immediately: the cost of goods (and tech) shot up within weeks. And thanks to immigration woes, the country can expect skills shortages and lost business. Was this the worst decision the UK has made in modern history? Some seem to think so.

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Trump's cybersecurity plan is -- well, a little empty

What would President Trump do in a cyberattack? Nobody's knows. Nobody's even sure if Trump himself knows. He was too busy talking about building a wall and attacking his presidential candidate for her use of a personal email server. Without a set policy on how his administration will react to a cyberattack, it's anybody's guess how the country will defend itself, or even fight back.

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Apple, now a dongle company that makes iPhones and MacBooks

Bought an iPhone or a MacBook in the last few weeks? Anyone will tell you that the one hot "must have" accessory isn't a case, but a dongle. The company has been criticized for its design choices, like removing the headphone jack from its latest iPhone -- and that the various connectors and cables don't seem to work together. Some have called Apple to a "dongle company" that also happens to make computers.

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Apple and Google's fake apps problem

How big of a problem are fake apps? Enough for both Apple and Google to remove hundreds of them from their app stores, after user complaints. How bad was it? Some apps infected devices with malware to steal user data.

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Yahoo hack the biggest in history throws 500 million under the bus

It was the hack of the decade, by far the largest data breach of any mainstream company in modern times. But how a company acts in the aftermath can speak volumes. Yahoo didn't do so well. The company took upwards of two years to report the breach after first finding suspicious activity. Yahoo pinned the blame on state actors, but those claims were quickly dismissed. The hack threatened to undermine the company's proposed sale to Verizon.

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Samsung's massive Galaxy Note 7 recall -- twice

You know things are bad when you have to recall your exploding product not once, but twice. Samsung ended up stopping production on the doomed Galaxy Note 7 after dozens of devices blew up for no reason. The company's mobile division took a massive financial hit as a result.

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RIP Vine, you were too good for this world

Vine, the six-second video-sharing service created by Twitter, will soon be no longer. The company confirmed that it will cut 300 jobs, and no longer support the service. The service has propelled social media stars into fame, and is loved by millions. But Twitter reportedly has no plans to sell the service, despite potential bidders.

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FBI "lost" the election for Clinton over email scandal

How do you sink an election? Hillary Clinton claimed that it was the FBI director's decision to dredge up a possible reinvestigation of her private email server with just weeks before Americans went to the polls. Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election to Republican contender Donald Trump.

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Facebook doesn't know what's news and not news

Mark Zuckerberg had to come out with a plan to stop fake news from spreading on the site after some argued the company hadn't done enough in the run-up to the election. The company had staff editors filtering out the news, but they were dismissed after a fake story was promoted to the site's trending wall. Things only got worse after they left. The social networking giant has also found itself being accused of censorship after pulling historical images from the network.

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Twitter, a cesspool of cyberbullying, could barely handle its scandal

The microblogging site had to contend with several high-profile defections after the company failed to handle its troll and abuse problem. Dubbed a "cesspool of abuse," Twitter eventually began to roll out features that would prevent some of the worst cases of harassment, such as keyword muting and better reporting tools. But for many who have already left the site, it's too little, too late.

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Say hello (and goodbye) to Tay, Microsoft's racist chatbot

If there's one thing guaranteed on the internet is that we can't have nice things. Microsoft's artificial intelligence bot, Tay, was a self-learning chatbot for Twitter. But within a few hours, the bot was taught to be racist and abusive from the thousands of people who tweeted at her. Tay was pulled offline, only to return a week later, when she spammed people who unfollowed her. Tay hasn't been heard of since.

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Amazon ebook scammer almost gets away with it -- if he wasn't so careless

For years, thousands were tricked into buying low-quality ebooks, which generated millions of dollars for one scammer, who went undetected by Amazon's systems. What eventually gave him away weren't customer complaints or even getting caught by the bookseller. In the end, it was good old-fashioned carelessness. His scheme was found when he forgot to put a password on his server.

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Microsoft Band nuked from orbit

Microsoft's fitness tracker is no more, after the company pulled the product following poor device quality and customer complaints. The company later stopped selling the Band from its online store. In a market where fitness devices are either hit or miss, Microsoft's Band fell squarely into the latter category.

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Buh-bye, BlackBerry's hardware business

No more BlackBerry smartphones -- at least, not ones designed and developed by the former phone giant. The company's transition to a software and services company will be complete when the company begins to "outsource" phone development to partners, according to BlackBerry's chief executive John Chen. It was a good run -- despite still having just a fraction of the worldwide market share.

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AdultFriendFinder puts millions of users' privacy at risk

More than 400 million accounts were stolen from adult dating and entertainment sites owned by the Friend Finder Networks, including AdultFriendFinder.com and its former property, Penthouse.com. The company was using shoddy security practices, which let an attacker exploit a vulnerability in the site's web server. After admitting the vulnerability, it took a whole week to directly inform its users of the breach.

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FBI vs. Apple started with a bang, ended in a bust

The FBI tried to force Apple to help its agents break into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. Apple refused to help the feds "backdoor" its own product, arguing that it can't crack the encryption, and lodged a formal appeal. The FBI eventually buckled under public pressure, but not before hiring hackers to break into the phone at the last minute.

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