Facebook - or Meta as it’s now known - has been named the worst company of the year, receiving 50% more votes than the second-place finisher, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, according to a survey done by Yahoo Finance.
As many as 1,541 people responded to the open-ended survey, which was posted on Yahoo Finance website on December 4-5. Dozens of names were submitted. Facebook received 8% of the write-in vote.
Those who voted for Meta found a lot of things that the company did wrong in 2021.
“Our respondents were mad about a lot this year, from the Robinhood trading freezes last winter to electric truck startup Nikola still not having its act together. But one company irked them the most — Facebook. The survey’s results shed more light on why the company decided to rebrand this year to a new name: Meta Platforms,” Yahoo Finance reported.
From being under the antitrust lens to facing a string of allegations from a former employee-turned-whistleblower claiming Facebook privileged growth over safety issues, Facebook has had its fair share of controversies this year. Some critics say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices while others claim it allows the spread of misinformation.
Earlier this month survivors from Myanmar's Rohingya minority sued Meta for knowingly abetting genocide, and demanding at least US$150 billion in compensation . Individuals and groups have attempted for years to take action against Facebook for the vast quantities of violent and hate-filled content proliferating on its platform. Just this year, at least two lawsuits were filed over content - one by US-based civil rights group Muslim Advocates, and one in France by press freedom non-profit Reporters Without Borders. Both lawsuits accuse the social media network of refusing to take action against disinformation, hate speech, and incitement to violence.
The company rebranded itself earlier this year amid a barrage of these news reports. However, it looks like the rebranding may not have helped much.
“There were significant complaints of censorship, mainly of the right and conservative voices that felt that the “free-speech police” was being unfair and they were owed the right to say whatever they wanted to on the platform,” the report said.
As per the report, outside of the political conversation, many respondents were upset with the company’s effects on children and young people, citing its photo-sharing site Instagram and its effects on mental health, after internal documents revealed the company knew Instagram made teenage girls feel worse about body image issues but didn’t address the problem.
“A significant amount of responses focused on executives and founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg,” it noted.
The report said that Alibaba's almost 50% drop year-to-date earned it the number two spot. Investors are upset at having lost money.
The other (dis)honorable mentions in the report included AT&T (like Alibaba, this is a story of share-price dissatisfaction), Nikola and its many issues last year, with a short seller claiming it was a fraud, and Tesla for rolling out products before they were ready and sexual harassment scandals, among others.
Yahoo Finance selects a ‘Company of the Year’ every December based on its market performance and its achievements that particular year. Microsoft took home the crown in 2021, smashing through the $2-trillion market capitalization mark and seeing a 53% surge in its stock price as of December 16, year-to-date.
Similarly, Yahoo Finance also selects a ‘Worst Company of the Year’, polling its audience as to which company upset them the most.