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Tech fails from a very bad year

Tech fails
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Few would argue against the fact that 2020 has been the worst year in recent memory – we are in the midst of a pandemic that has killed more than one million people worldwide; there have been fires, earthquakes, explosions and mass protests across the world.

Understandably, the tech industry also endured a difficult year and a number of flops, fights and conspiracy theories have cropped up in 2020.

5G causes coronavirus

One of the year's headline-grabbing conspiracies suggested that the faster 5G internet was responsible for causing or accelerating the spread of coronavirus.

The rumours began in early March gained momentum as the virus began spreading across the world.

By April, angry Brits started burning down 5G cellular towers across the country.

Needless to say, this wild theory has been debunked by fact-checkers. There is no evidence that suggests that 5G can damage people's immune systems, much less infect them with a deadly disease.

Although the origin of the theory is still unknown, it is believed that it may have started because Wuhan – where the coronavirus first broke out – was one of several cities where 5G was trialled in 2019.

'Zoombombing'

After the pandemic took hold and confined millions of people to their homes, Zoom emerged as the ultimate solution for individuals, families and companies who were seeking a way to safely socialise, work and learn.

Zoom cornered the market and superseded more prominent video conferencing platforms such as Skype, Teams or Google Meets.

Unfortunately, trolls and hackers were eager to take advantage of some users' naivety when it came to this new platform's security settings.

Even the South African parliament had one of its parliamentary sessions hacked. When the Members of Parliament were about to begin proceedings they were ambushed by a torrent of nudity and foul language.

This is called 'Zoombombing'.

Trolls and hackers hop onto public Zoom meetings and use the screen-sharing feature to project lewd, obscene, racist or homophobic content to unsuspecting participants, which forces the hosts to end the meetings quickly.

Zoom eventually addressed the issues and upped their security, while users became more cautious about protecting their private meetings. However, for many, the 'bombings' left a sour taste and they reverted to more established platforms.

Epic Games versus the World (see: Apple and Google)

Epic took the bold step of setting up a direct payment system for users of it's remarkably popular battle-royale multiplayer game, Fortnite. It essentially cut out the middlemen – Apple and Google – and the 30% stake they take from every purchase made on their platforms.

The two behemoths responded by pulling Fortnite from their respective app stores, meaning that users can no longer download the game, which has been downloaded more than 250 million times, from those stores.

However, if you previously downloaded it on iOS you can redownload and play the game but will not be able to update or access new seasons of the game.

If you're an Android user, you can download the game directly from Epic's website.

Apple and Google claim Epic violated their guidelines, which they put in place to ensure that their app stores are safe.

Epic responded by filing a lawsuit against the companies for what they deem to be 'anticompetitive behaviour', referring to the 30% of sales that developers need to pay to be on these app stores.

As things stand, the issue will only be resolved next year, as the trial is expected to take place in July 2021.