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The Biggest Technology Scandals of 2017

We dug into this year’s biggest tech scandals, from data breaches to workplace harassment.

The Biggest Technology Scandals of 2017

It’s been a long year, especially for technology. Tech companies, big and small, found themselves in hot water for scandals ranging from political issues, sexual harassment cases and everything in between.

We surveyed 600 people, who identified themselves as frequent followers of tech industry news, to give us the ranking for the 5 biggest scandals of 2017.

The 5 Biggest Technology Scandals of 2017

  1. Facebook, Twitter and Google testify about Russian meddling in the 2016 election
  2. Equifax announces data breach
  3. Uber admits to 2016 data breach and hacker bribing
  4. Google engineer sends sexist memo
  5. Female engineer unveils sexist culture at Uber

Consumer Trust Withstands Scandals

Despite this year’s scandals, consumer trust for top companies is surprisingly high.

  • Facebook: 3 in 5 respondents (60%) say Facebook is at least “somewhat trustworthy”, with nearly 1 in 5 (19%) ranking them as “very trustworthy”
  • Uber: More than half (51%) of respondents say Uber is at least “somewhat” trustworthy, with 12% ranking them at “very trustworthy”
  • Equifax: More than 2 in 5 (42%) say Equifax is at least “somewhat” trustworthy, with nearly 1 in 5 (19%) ranking them as “very trustworthy”

A Detailed Timeline of the 2017 Scandals

January

Tech Industry Vs. Trump’s Immigration Ban
Tech leaders condemn Trump’s immigration ban amidst mass protest.

February

#DeleteUber: Kalanick steps down from Trump’s advisory board
Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, steps down from Trump’s advisory council after public outcry and boycott, urging people to delete the Uber app.

Female Engineer Blows the Whistle on Sexual Harassment at Uber
Former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, speaks out about institutional sexual harassment at Uber via a viral blog post.

March

Trump-supporting Oculus founder leaves Facebook
Palmer Luckey leaves Facebook six months after it was discovered he secretly funded a pro-Trump campaign.

April

Unroll.me Faces Backlash After Selling Data to Uber
Unroll.me, a free service to unsubscribe to email lists, was discovered to be selling information about the contents of its user’s email inboxes to companies like Uber.

June

Marissa Mayers Steps Down from Yahoo after Verizon Acquisition
Marissa Mayers, CEO of Yahoo, steps down after the company's acquisition by Verizon.

August

Google Engineer Sends Sexist Memo
Google engineer, James Damore, sends a company memo claiming that women are not fit to work in technology. He was fired for “advancing harmful gender stereotypes”.

Samsung Chief Found Guilty of Corruption
A South Korean court found Lee Jae-yong, the de facto chief of Samsung, guilty of bribery and other corruption charges.

September

Equifax Announces Data Breach
Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, announced that personal information of nearly 146 million Americans was compromised.

October

Sexual Harassment Rallying Cry Hits Silicon Valley
Journalist Quinn Norton published a Medium post detailing an instance in the "early 2010s" when she said technology pundit Robert Scoble groped her at a technology conference.

Facebook, Twitter and Google Testify Before Congress About Election Meddling
Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google testify before Congress about the foreign nationals’ use of social media to interfere in the 2016 election.

November

Uber Discloses Massive 2016 Data Breach
Uber discloses hackers stole 57 million driver and rider accounts and the company kept the data breach secret for more than a year after paying a $100,000 ransom.

Methodology
We survey 600 Americans, who identified themselves as frequent followers of tech industry news, via the survey platform Pollfish about the tech scandals of 2017. The survey was conducted on November 29, 2017.

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Brionna LewisBrionna Lewis

Brionna is on a roller coaster that only goes up. You can follow her on twitter @BrionnaLewis.

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