2021 was another wild year. We saw breakthroughs, scandals, and the arrival of new frontiers that could completely change our definition of the word “reality”. Here are some of the biggest news stories in the world of Data for 2021. 1. The Metaverse Became MainstreamIn 2021, companies bet big time on the Metaverse. In one of the biggest moves, Facebook changed their name to “Meta” – a signal that they think the Metaverse will be a big part of our future.What is the Metaverse? Simply put, it’s a Digital universe. As for what the Metaverse will contain, well, it’s still being built. Everything from buying digital clothing to solving real-world problems could be contained in the Metaverse.The Metaverse isn’t new. We have already been creating Digital landscapes and worlds – like 13-year-old Roblox. What happened in 2021, was the concept of the Metaverse went mainstream.Much like when the internet was introduced, it’s hard for us to predict exactly what the future of the Metaverse will look like. What we do know is large companies like Facebook are betting that it will be a big deal.2. Bezos Stepped Down as CEO Of AmazonLike him or hate him, Jeff Bezos has been the CEO of Amazon for the past 27 years. Under his direction, Amazon has introduced innovations that have forced whole industries to change.So, it was big news when Jeff Bezos announced that he was stepping down as CEO. While he does want to put more of his energy in his space rocketry company, Blue Origin, he isn’t abandoning Amazon. His new job title is “executive chair.”We still don’t really know what his actual job will be. In letters to employees, he seemed to hint that part of his job will be focused on fixing the company culture. Reports of a poor work environment, with too much stress and too few breaks, have plagued the company for years. 3. Hackers Were Busy This Year2021 was a top year for Data breaches. By early October, the number of Data breaches was already 17% higher than the total for 2020. Some of the biggest data breaches were:100+ million Android users’ Data was released thanks to misconfigured cloud services.106+ million visitors to Thailand saw their personal Data shared on an unsecured database.553 million Facebook users’ personal Data was leaked.700 million LinkedIn users – nearly 93% of all LinkedIn users – discovered their information was for sale online.5 billion people were impacted by the Data leak related to Cognyte, a cybersecurity analytics firm.A disappointing trend in 2021 was a lack of transparency during Data breaches. Both governments and organizations have been less upfront about Data breaches than previous years – preventing individuals from taking action to protect their identities. 4. Facebook Whistleblower Speaks OutIn early October of 2021, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, testified about the internal documents she shared with the public. In her testimony, she claimed that Facebook is putting profit over public safety.Frances Haugen revealed that Facebook changed its algorithm in 2018. This change was in response to Facebook losing money thanks to a dwindling number of users. The new algorithm rewarded and promoted posts with strong reactions. A like was good, but a reaction like an angry face was even better. This promoted more decisive and controversial content – and Facebook knew this.This whole situation has companies questioning their partnerships with Facebook and how consumer Data is used. Facebook has become a big part of many brands’ marketing. Is it ethical for them to continue using Facebook now that the algorithms and how they work are common knowledge?5. NFTs Showed Us More Uses of BlockchainNFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are anything digital – music, gifs, drawings – that is unique. In 2021, we started seeing more and more artists selling NFTs. While some are doubting the value of NFTs themselves, one thing we can all agree on is they have shown us the power of blockchain. See, NFTs are part of a blockchain – typically Ethereum. Blockchains are commonly associated with cryptocurrency. Now, thanks to NFTS, more people are realizing Blockchains can do so much more. NFTs are pretty trivial. Blockchains can help us do practical things like create smart contracts that can transfer ownership when certain criteria are met.Looking for a new role, or to build out your data team in 2022?. Check out our latest Data jobs or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more:For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 – 4999 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For our Arizona Team, contact us at (602) 562 7011 or send an email to email@example.com. For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.