NEW YORK: Facebook, recently rebranded as Meta, is termed as the world’s ‘worst company’ of 2021, according to a survey by Yahoo Finance.
More than 1,500 respondents of an open-ended survey on Yahoo Finance on December 4 were given dozens of alternatives to choose from, but Facebook beat them all. It received 50 percent more votes as the year’s worst company than the second-place finisher, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Some respondents complained about Facebook’s censorship, while others blasted the platform for failing to deal with misinformation, especially regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some even criticized Facebook for “undermining democracy worldwide” and contributing to the rise of far-right extremism. Many blamed the company’s photo-sharing app, Instagram, for the effects it has on the mental health of young people.
Outrage was sparked earlier this year after internal documents leaked by a whistleblower revealed that Facebook’s owners knew Instagram affected teenagers’ self-esteem, but didn’t address the problem, allegedly for the sake of profit.
Facebook has been in hot water on more than one occasion this year – while having to deal with allegations from the leaks, it has also faced several antitrust probes. No wonder the firm decided to rebrand. The company has not yet responded to a request for comment, Yahoo Finance said.
On a positive note, nearly 30 percent of the respondents said Facebook could still save itself. Among the ways that people suggested were: “acknowledging and apologizing for what it did” and donating a “sizable amount” of its profits to a foundation to help reverse the harm caused to minors.
Some saw the Meta rebranding as a promising step towards making Facebook more ‘interesting’ and ‘different’. Also, investors who took part in the survey said Facebook could draw less ire and more public commitment if it could grow its stock price. It is currently up 22 percent year-to-date, but still down around 13 percent from its high in September.
Apart from Facebook, respondents took aim at Alibaba, as many lost money amid the firm’s 50 percent drop in market price this year.
They also lashed out at electric car maker Tesla – not for the stock price, which has soared, but for failing to deliver on promises with products it rolled out but has never produced, as well as lashing out at CEO Elon Musk and his cult-like following.
Every December, Yahoo Finance selects a company of the year, based on its market performance and its achievements that particular year.
In 2021, Microsoft (MSFT) took home the crown, smashing through the $2 trillion market capitalization mark and seeing a 53 percent surge in its stock price as of December 16, year-to-date.