- Scott Mahaskey
- It’s been a wild year for tech, marked by scandal, political clashes, and bizarre product launches.
- From Mark Zuckerberg’s Congress grilling to the mass Google protests, some of the drama has been captured in candid detail on camera.
Business Insider has compiled some of the wildest pictures from an apocalyptic year in tech. Scroll on for 15 moments that defined 2018.
JANUARY: Yes, it really was this year Logan Paul posted *that* YouTube video of a Japanese forest and what appeared to be a dead body.
- YouTube/Logan Paul
Paul was removed from Google’s preferred partner program – which guarantees YouTube’s biggest stars more ad revenue – and later said the mistake cost him $5 million.
MARCH: Pursued by reporters, Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix is bundled into the firm’s London offices.
- Henry Nicholls/Reuters
Just days before this photo was taken, The Observer reported that Nix’s company had harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users and weaponized the information for political campaigns, including Donald Trump’s run for president. He was unflatteringly compared to a James Bond villain.
MARCH: This self-driving Uber car killed Elaine Herzberg. It was the first pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle.
- National Transportation Safety Board/Handout via REUTERS
The incident shocked people inside Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, the company’s 1,100-person self-driving unit, according to Business Insider’s detailed retelling of the incident.
APRIL: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stares down a scrum of the world’s media during his appearance in Congress.
The Facebook CEO was in Washington to answer questions about the giant Cambridge Analytica data breach, which sparked the biggest crisis in the firm’s history.
APRIL: Jeff Bezos landed in Germany to pick up an award from Business Insider’s parent company Axel Springer. He was also greeted by a big protest.
- Sean Gallup/Getty
Demonstrators were campaigning against Amazon’s warehouse working conditions. They weren’t alone. 2018 was the year in which horror stories from fulfilment centers hit fever pitch, and Bezos responded by raising the minimum wage of workers to $15 an hour.
APRIL: Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Donald Trump.
Cook later revealed that he told the US president that his policies were “not the right approach to trade.” He also championed immigration.
MAY: Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian was spotted at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. His wife, Serena Williams, is Markle’s close friend.
It was a busy year for Ohanian, who bemoaned tech’s “hustle porn” – the fetishization of extremely long working hours – during a Web Summit speech in November.
JUNE: Elon Musk sells flamethrowers.
One thousand people got hold of the so-called Not-a-Flamethrower at a Boring Company headquarters launch party. It wasn’t long before people were spewing flames on things they shouldn’t.
SEPTEMBER: In a truly wild year for Elon Musk, he smoked weed live on the internet.
- Joe Rogan Experience/YouTube
SEPTEMBER: Politico’s M. Scott Mahaskey captured this crazy picture, in which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is being berated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in Washington.
- Scott Mahaskey
The detail and tension captured in the photo are reminiscent of a canvas by a master painter. Read my colleague Julie Bort’s delicious breakdown of the key elements here.
SEPTEMBER: Facebook’s public policy chief Joel Kaplan watches on as Brett Kavanaugh tries to clear his name during dramatic testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Reuters/Business Insider
Facebook employees were outraged by Kaplan’s presence at the hearing, where Kavanaugh fought off accusations of sexual misconduct before being elevated to the Supreme Court.
NOVEMBER: Not helping the tech industry’s growing reputation for doing evil, the Salesforce Tower was lit up like the Eye of Sauron from “The Lord of the Rings.”
- YouTube/Bhautik Joshi
The idea originated from an online petition that had more than 11,000 signatures by Halloween.
NOVEMBER: Around 20,000 Google staff across the world left their desks to protest the company’s position on sexual harassment.
- Troy Wolverton/Business Insider
It followed a bombshell New York Times report that named executives who had been accused of sexual misconduct, including Andy Rubin, the creator of the mobile operating system Android. Rubin denied any misconduct.
NOVEMBER: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was humiliated by a group of international lawmakers for failing to give evidence on Facebook’s scandals.
- Gabriel Sainhas, House of Commons
Zuckerberg declined repeated requests to give evidence on scandals including the Cambridge Analytica data breach. As a result, the committee decided to leave an empty chair for the Facebook CEO.
DECEMBER: Sundar Pichai shoots a slightly puzzled look at a US senator during his Congress grilling over perceived political bias.