4 Important Tech News Stories You Might Have Missed in 2021

2022 is fast approaching, and although many of us would like to leave this year in the past, there are still several developments that have had a significant impact on technology. These trends, features, companies, and personalities made waves in the tech world.

So, before we close the year, let’s look at the four biggest news stories that will change the tech landscape in the years to come.

GameStop and the Birth of Meme Stocks

Wall St Street Sign with Blonde cool guy drawing holding the bets word
Image Credit: u/lucushoule/Reddit

Making big money in stock trading is usually the domain of hedge funds and professional stock traders. However, one week in January 2021 destroyed this notion when investors from the subreddit r/wallstreetbets beat the professionals at their own game.

When several retail investors discovered hedge funds shorted 140{4224f0a76978c4d6828175c7edfc499fc862aa95a2f708cd5006c57745b2aaca} of GameStop stocks, betting that its stock price would fall further, r/wallstreetbets subreddit members rallied around the stock, buying it en masse. This caused the stock price to jump by 300{4224f0a76978c4d6828175c7edfc499fc862aa95a2f708cd5006c57745b2aaca} in less than three days, catching the professionals unaware and causing them millions in losses while giving the retail investors massive gains.

This event started the meme stock movement, where social media now directly affects a company’s stock price. It shook giant trading institutions and hedge funds to the core, where they saw themselves beaten by amateurs on a social media page.


Related: What Are Meme Stocks?

Although attention has shifted to cryptocurrency and NFTS, this news story set the tone of what 2021 could be.

The $2.9 Million Tweet

twitter jack dorsey nft feature

Although the first non-fungible token was created and traded in 2014, it wasn’t until 2021 that this term exploded in popularity. It started in February 2021, when several high-value, high-profile NFTs, including the Nyan Cat meme, were sold.

But the biggest name to join the NFT bandwagon came in March, when Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold the first-ever Tweet for a cool $2.9 million. Since then, several other million-dollar NFTs have been sold, including a copy of the original source code for the internet.

Even established auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s now auction NFTs, with the former hosting the auction in the Sotheby Metaverse.

Related: Jack Dorsey Sells the First-Ever Tweet

Although NFTs remain a highly controversial topic, these developments have turned it from a fringe technology known only to tech geeks into something a bit more mainstream, with millions of users—from art collectors to professional gamers.

Dark street lit by neon lights

In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would rebrand its parent company to Meta. While this has no immediate impact on the day-to-day experience of using their social apps, it signs a shift in the company’s priorities from social media to the metaverse.

The company is looking at the metaverse as the next significant shift in tech, which changes the way humans interact with the internet. Instead of accessing the internet through disparate apps, services, and hardware, the metaverse links them together to meld a seamless experience almost similar to physical reality.

By changing the Facebook group’s name to Meta, Zuckerberg signifies to the world that they intend to become leaders in this technology, ensuring their users become fully immersed in their technology.

Related: What Is the Metaverse?

While this is an exciting time for the metaverse, with even Mark Zuckerberg himself saying that he’s not sure what its future holds, we have to be wary of our privacy, as these systems typically run on our data—whether we want to share it or not.

Apple and Facebook’s Privacy War

facebook app erased on iphone

When iOS 14.5 launched in April 2021, it allowed users to opt-out of tracking, thus preventing third-party apps from following you around the internet and selling your data to big tech companies. While this is a welcome feature for many Apple users, this was the first shot of the privacy war that Apple and Facebook are now fighting.

The iOS 15 update further exacerbated this conflict, allowing users to see which apps access which data and sensors, and when. You can even see whether these apps share your data with third-party entities.

Apple is an innovator in the smartphone space, with manufacturers following the company’s trends. So, if this privacy feature catches on and gets implemented in other devices and operating systems, this could dry up Facebook’s primary source of revenue.

Related: How iOS 14.5 Will Hurt Facebook

That’s why the social media company will attempt to stop this precedent, as they count on user data to deliver customized advertising content. In fact, Meta made almost $85 billion from targeted online ads in 2020. Because when the data taps stop flowing, they can’t deliver target ads to their users, thus affecting ad revenue.

What Tech News Will We See in 2022?

These are some of the biggest tech news stories of 2021, and we’re looking forward to a more exciting 2022. While many of us won’t feel the immediate impact of these developments, they will shape how we use and interact with technology in the near future.

And as we march into the new year, we can look back at these developments and see the changes they will bring to our society.

photo edited with calibrated monitor on the left versus an uncalibrated monitor on the right
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Marcy Willis

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