Ethan Wolff-Mann, writing at finance.yahoo.com
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% surge in its stock price as of Dec. 16, year-to-date.
However, the spirit of Festivus has taught us we can learn just as much from the bad as the good by airing our grievances. That’s why Yahoo Finance also selects a Worst Company of the Year, polling our audience as to which company upset them the most.
Our survey’s 1,541 respondents were mad about a lot this year, from the Robinhood (HOOD) trading freezes last winter to electric truck startup Nikola still not having its act together. But one company irked them the most — Facebook (FB). The survey’s results shed more light on why the company decided to rebrand this year to a new name: Meta Platforms.
Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. It’s been under the antitrust microscope and faced a flurry of allegations from a whistleblower claiming Facebook ignored safety issues for the sake of growth. Congress is constantly demanding answers from the company on both fronts. At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices. Other critics, including those on the left side of the aisle, claim Facebook allows the spread of misinformation.
What is especially interesting about the Company Formerly Known as Facebook is just how many and varied the reasons people dislike it. It received 50% more votes than the second-place finisher, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, not for one singular offense but for a litany of grievances from groups of people that may have little else to agree about.
On the other side, people hectored the platform for failing to police significant misinformation that in the view of critics contributed to people not taking the pandemic’s potential for death seriously (797,877 official deaths in the U.S. and counting). Facebook was also blamed for the rise of far-right extremism and “undermining democracy worldwide,” as one respondent put it.
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.
No one deserves this distinction more than you Zuckerberg! You must be proud.