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The 10 Most Controversial Companies Of 2018

Businesses sometimes find themselves in the news for the wrong reasons. Here are 10 companies that made headlines this year – but not in a good way.

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3. Google

Google found itself in a harsh spotlight multiple times throughout 2018, most notably when the company was hit with a $5 billion fine – a record – by the European Commission for allegedly breaching European Union anti-trust regulations with its Android business practices. The EC charged that Google illegally used Android's dominance in the mobile phone industry to require mobile device makers and mobile network operators to pre-install the Google Chrome browser and Google search engine on their products.

Later in the year there were reports that U.S. regulators could similarly investigate potential antitrust violations by Google around its search and digital advertising practices.

In August reports surfaced that certain Google applications on Android and iOS devices were storing location data even after consumers believed they had turned off Google location tracking services. The disclosure was seen as potentially creating problems with Google's efforts to expand adoption of its software among business customers.

Google found itself in the center of the #MeToo movement when on Nov. 1 employees staged a worldwide walkout to protest what they see as a workplace culture that fosters sexual harassment and discrimination. The demonstration was fallout from an explosive New York Times investigative story that detailed years of sexual harassment and abuse allegations, multimillion-dollar severance packages for accused executives and a lack of transparency over the cases.

Also controversial was Google's work to develop search technology specifically for the Chinese market. Critics, including some Google employees, called on Google to end "Project Dragonfly," saying it would be used to enable state surveillance and censor dissent.

And near year's end Google admitted that a security bug in its soon-to-be-closed Google+ social network may have allowed third-party applications and developers to access personal information for more than 52 million users.

 
 
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