The internet had its share of ups and downs in 2013, but arguably the following few were some of the biggest fails we’ve ever seen. Hopefully most of them (particularly #4 and #1) won’t ever be repeated, but we at NMR are realists: we kind of need this stuff to go down so that we can write about it initially — and then crap it out in list form at the end of the year. It’s a living. Here are the five biggest internet screw-ups of 2013:
5. Palestinian Hacker Hacks Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page
A 30-year-old Palestinian hacker reached out to Facebook to help them correct an error in their security system, real white hat hacker stuff. Facebook ignored him. He tried again. And again. After they continually rebuffed his friendly attempts to help them improve their defenses, he decided to show them exactly what the security error could do. Posting “I hacked Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page” on the Zuck’s wall, the hacker finally got Facebook’s attention. Of course, by then, they also had a lot of bad p.r. to go with it.
4. NMR Gets Shut Down
Maybe I’m overselling this whole “We was wronged” thing, but NewMediaRockstars straight up got jobbed in 2013. After a botched merger, the former investor got scared and unnecessarily pulled the plug on the surging social media news site. Thank God, cooler heads prevailed and a savvier crew, headed up by former Maker CEO Danny Zappin stepped in to turn the lights back on. Not to be too ambitious, but I’m betting NMR makes certain former investors see the error of their ways in the new year. Whoops.
3. Twitter Takes A Stand Against Free Speech
2013 was an interesting year for Twitter who stood on a platform of free speech during the Arab Spring, but has increasingly become a harbinger of more “conservative” agendas as they eschew free speech in favor of political harmony. Earlier this year they shut down running body counts by terrorists shooting up a Kenyan shopping mall, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but most recently they’ve put the kibosh on tweets coming out in support of the disgraced Duck Dynasty cast member Phil Robertson. Tweets that involved the url istandwithphil.com were given the 404 treatment. Right or wrong Twitter, nobody wants to use a site that tells people what they can think or say.
2. YouTube Screws Over Its Gamers
Running an overly aggressive Content ID system, YouTube managed to isolate numerous gamers and their “Let’s Play” channels resulting in a landmark attack on the idea of fair use and copyright. Even with the game developers coming out in support of the gamers, revenues were still screwed with. Not cool, bro.
1. Reddit Inadvertently Gets A Guy Killed
22-year-old Sunil Tripathi was found dead after Reddit erroneously identified him as the chief suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. Believing their own self-manufactured hubris, Reddit decided to play detective and pinged Tripathi. He was later found dead in a Rhode Island lake earlier this year. As a result, Reddit’s general manager apologized and sweeping reforms were put in place on the one-time lawless site.
Here are more lists from the 2013 countdown files: