Daily Management Review

Failures of the year from the Silicon Valley


12/27/2017


Many Silicon Valley companies have been subjected to numerous attacks from the authorities, the press and ordinary users in 2017. Let's figure out of what the largest companies were accused, and for what they really were to blame.



Christian Rondeau
Christian Rondeau
Uber

The year 2017 has become one of the most difficult in the history for Uber. The carrier was literally surrounded by failures from the very beginning of the year. 

When US President Donald Trump presented his decree banning refugees and citizens of some Muslim countries to enter the US, the Silicon Valley condemned the actions of the head of state in a single impulse. Uber, however, refused to support the hour-long strike of taxi drivers, and continued to carry out transportation. This fact outraged the Americans so much that social networks were instantly filled with the #DeleteUber hash tag, which quickly got into the trends of the day. After that, then-head of Uber Travis Kalanick had to apologize and promise monetary compensation to those drivers who would suffer from Trump's decree.

In addition, a trial regarding sexual harassment in Uber was initiated by the company’s former employee Susan Fowler in 2017. In spring, it became known that Uber spied for a while for iPhone owners, because of which Apple’s CEO Tim Cook threatened to remove the application from AppStore.

But the "cherry on the cake" was a cyberattack, the consequences of which the company preferred to hide by paying hackers for removing stolen personal data of 57 million people.

"We cannot change the past, but I promise on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn a lesson from our mistakes. From now on, we will conduct business in a different way - at the heart of every decision will be honesty, and we will earn trust of our clients with good work, " said the company’s current head Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced Kalanick in June 2017.

Google

One of the hugest failures of Google in 2017 was dismissal of software engineer James Damore due to a sexist scandal. Damore sent a 10-page letter to his colleagues explaining the lack of success of women in the field of IT with biological characteristics.

The engineer has repeatedly stressed that he stands for diversity, respects women and just wants to draw the attention of the public to the fact that not all differences between the sexes are the result of discriminatory treatment. Nevertheless, Google decided take the safe side and fired Damore for violating the company's conduct, at the same time branding him a sexist. Damore did not tolerate such unfair treatment and sued Google’s parent company Alphabet, trying to challenge his dismissal and prove that the employer could not protect his rights as an employee.

In addition, Google is facing a collective lawsuit against 60 employees who, in the light of "sexist" events, decided to point out that women in the company receive lower salary than their male counterparts.

YouTube

Despite some financial success, this year, YouTube has also been at the center of several scandals. In March, several large advertisers refused to post their promos on YouTube because their audience was shown extremist videos. Announcements of popular brands appeared in close proximity to content that encourages violence, discrimination and even terrorism. 

Among other things, on YouTube erupted "Elzagate", a scandal, named after the main character of the "Cold Heart" movie Princess Elsa. The video hosting was flooded with non-commercial content, exploiting heroes, which are popular among modern children. At the same time they were accompanied by a bright cover, attracting kids and provoking them to watch. In addition, the public drew attention to a video, in which the children themselves figured. As it turned out, even the most innocent videos attracted people leaving strange comments about "sexuality" of children. There is an opinion that some such videos can be sponsored by pedophiles.

In December, Google, which owns YouTube, has promised to increase number of employees who track unwanted content to make video sharing safe for users of all ages and beliefs.

Facebook

The main enemies of the Americans this year were pro-Russia bots, as well as Facebook helping them.

The US Congress came to the conclusion that Mark Zuckerberg’s social network played the main role in the spread of Russian propaganda.  The authorities said Facebook could not recognize political advertising on time and actually influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Together with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube unknowingly replicated the "fake news", and did not cope with the flow of unreliable information. The trials of the "Russian case" are still going on, and all Facebook's efforts to identify "injections" do not yet bring any result.






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