5 Big Tech Scandals That Didn't Get Enough Attention
The tech industry is a constantly swirling, confusing vortex of frivolity and madness. And considering the sheer number of shiny distracting gadgets they throw at you every day, it's understandable that you might have missed some of their bigger scandals. Especially the ones that they'd prefer you never found out about, if only because they are bafflingly stupid. Like how ...
Twitch Is Punishing Streamers For Nonexistent NSFW Behavior
For a place where people can show off whatever, whenever, to whoever, Twitch has some pretty strict rules against sex and nudity. In the last few months, however, the platform has stopped enforcing these rules in favor of indiscriminately banning random streamers for being "sexually suggestive," telling them to stick it where the sun don't shine if they don't like it. (Just don't stream it.)
In September, a user called "Quqco" was suspended for the heinous crime of ... streaming while dressed like Chun-Li from Street Fighter. The outfit wasn't offensive by any measure, but the algorithm disagreed. If anything, her cosplay was the most tasteful the internet has likely ever seen.
There's also "Fareeha," who was hit with a serious warning for broadcasting while wearing "underwear or lingerie." Of course, she did no such thing. The "offending" stream was of her working out at a gym while dressed in a sports bra and baggy shorts. There are so many examples that we don't have space to talk about them all. One was banned for drawing too many butts, one was banned for bending over while baking a cake, one was temporarily banned for uploading an emote of someone ripping their pants open and exposing their buttocks. That someone? SpongeBob SquarePants.
We'd be remiss if we didn't point out that, while it's likely most of these bans are the result of the site being a little overzealous, there are also several communities who report-bomb streams because they're hosted by someone they consider to be a "thot" or "titty streamer." They're not doing this because they're angry misogynists, however; they're doing it for the good of the site ... in that they believe the site will be good after they've driven away all the women.
A Lot Of Companies Censored Themselves Over The Hong Kong Protests
In October 2019, video game publisher Blizzard removed Ng Wai Chung (aka "Blitzchung") from a professional Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament after he used a post-match interview to express support for the protests in Hong Kong. In response, the company was taken behind the woodshed by basically everyone. Gamers launched boycotts, and politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Marco Rubio chastised Blizzard in a letter which proves bipartisanship is still possible in this bizarre political climate.
"Don't think we've forgiven you for nerfing warlocks, either!"
After Blizzard's SNAFU, people started paying attention to other companies seeking to appease China by tamping down on support for the protests. Google removed a game (The Revolution Of Our Times) from their app store which allowed users to role-play as Hong Kong protesters. When they were questioned about this, Google claimed it was taken down because it was associated with a "sensitive event." According to The Wall Street Journal, however, it's more likely that the game was taken down because China asked them nicely.
The biggest offender by far is Apple. In recent weeks, the tech giant removed an app belonging to the news site Quartz over concerns that it contained "content that was illegal in China." True enough, since Quartz was covering the protests and advising people on how to get around the "Great Firewall"
Worse, they also removed an app which allowed protesters to track local police movements, as well as provide a way for them to warn each other about checkpoints or areas where tear gas had been dispersed. Despite initially approving the app, Apple removed it several days later, saying that protesters were using it to stalk and attack police officers. But some folks pointed out that the company had been publicly criticized by Chinese media over the app, while the only proof it was being used to attack police was provided by the local police.
Related: 4 Insane Examples Of Overzealous Internet Censorship
MIT Was In Bed With Jeffrey Epstein
In September 2019, it was revealed that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology accepted $800,000 from Jeffrey Epstein over the course of 20 years, even after he was outed as a sex monster. The majority of this money went to their Media Lab, which at the time was overseen by Dr. Joichi Ito, who later admitted that he'd stayed over at several properties owned by Epstein in New York, the Caribbean, and New Mexico.
In the aftermath of these revelations, Dr. Ito resigned his post and MIT kicked off a hand-wringing forgive-us-please media tour that continues to this very day. Except MIT wasn't a passive recipient of Epstein's donations. According to Signe Swenson, who worked at the Media Lab for several years, the institute actively sought donations from Epstein. And when the heat eventually got to be too much, they attempted to cover it up by wiping all evidence from the lab's computer network.
Despite MIT's desire to keep this special relationship quiet, Epstein (and two of his "assistants") were given several guided tours of the Media Lab, which led to staffers giving Epstein the nickname "Voldemort." That's a little harsh. Voldemort never molested anyone.
Related: 5 Scandals Covered Up By Prominent Universities
WeWork's CEO Imploded In The Dumbest Way Possible
WeWork offers rent-by-the-day office space to lonely freelancers, contractors, and businesspeople. It's not the sexiest business, sure, but it's steady, stable, dependable, and oh god it's so dull. Or at least it was up until a few months ago, when everything started imploding with the hilarity and momentum of a flaming can of pop-up snakes rolling down a hillside.
It all started in August 2019, after founder Adam Neumann attempted to take the company public at a valuation of $47 BILLION. That obviously failed, but bear in mind that we're only at the beginning of the story. It gets wilder.
Only a month later, a profile by The Wall Street Journal outed Neumann as a nightmare boss who (along with his wife, Rebekah) would fire people for seemingly no reason other than them having "bad energy." As a way of keeping costs down, he also instructed his managers to fire 20% of their staff every year. When this didn't work, he announced that he'd be laying off 7% of his workers. At the end of this meeting, the obviously distraught staff were greeted by servers holding trays upon trays of tequila shots ... after which (and we're not making this up) a member of Run-D.M.C. appeared and began playing a set.
Neumann was also allegedly into some shady financial stuff. Before trying to take WeWork public, he supposedly cashed out $700 million in stock from the company's coffers, despite previously warning his staff not to do this. He also had to hand $5.9 million back to the company after he arranged for WeWork to buy the "We" trademark for that sum from ... himself. Capitalism!
Related: 5 Deeply Evil Corporations That Transcend Everyday Badness
Elon Musk Hired A Convicted Fraud To Investigate "Pedo Guy" And Got Bilked
Elon Musk is currently in a lot of legal trouble after slandering cave rescuer Vernon Unsworth as a "pedo guy" -- adding in a later email interview with BuzzFeed that Unsworth was a child rapist and married his wife when she was only 12 years old.
After trying (and failing) to get Unsworth's subsequent lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that his claims were "just pranks," Musk tried another bold legal strategy of blaming the private investigator he'd hired to look into Unsworth. Spoiler: That investigator turned out to be a conman.
According to court documents, after making his initial "pedo guy" allegation, Musk was contacted by James Howard-Higgins, who promised to dig up the truth about Unsworth in return for $52,000. As Musk is a big, strong, clever, adult man, he immediately took Howard-Higgins up on his unsolicited offer and wired him the cash, no questions asked.
HH began "reporting" from the field and quickly found himself a juicy scoop: Unsworth knew some local teenagers, and had met his partner when she was "at least 18 or 19 years old," marrying her some years after that. So ... what's the opposite of a bombshell? But still, less than eight hours after receiving this banal missive, Musk was yelling to BuzzFeed about how he had definitive proof that Unsworth was indeed the pedo-est of guys. Anyway, the lawsuit continues, and if the pattern holds, it will continue to be an absolute train wreck for years to come. Thank god.
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