Facebook was the worst company in the industry this year, according to our readers.
In 2017 Uber had a rough year. It’s toxic culture and corporate governance were scrutinised after engineer Susan Fowler published an account of the sexism inside the ridesharing business. The year featured an investigation into its culture and penchant for rule bending, CEO and board resignations and a data breach thrown in for good measure.
This year it was Facebook’s turn. Or as Which-50 writer John Birmingham put it earlier this year on his personal blog, Mark Zuckerberg was shocked to learn that people used his monster making machine to make monsters.
According to an arbitrary and utterly non-scientific survey of Which-50 readers, Facebook had the worst year in 2018 and Amazon had the best.
We asked readers to rank 10 tech giants based on who had an awesome year and who had a shocker. Facebook was the clear loser, with two thirds of respondents ranking it lowest, and almost all putting it in the bottom three.
The year has been punctuated by massive stories – the Cambridge Analytica scandal, election interference and a massive data breach – as well as a series of smaller ones which have eroded trust in the social media company. And it just keeps getting worse. While writing this story the New York Times published a new investigation, reporting Facebook gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read its users’ messages. There are already suggestions Zuckerberg may have lied to Congress – a crime.
According to one Which-50 reader, Facebook has simply “failed to take data manipulation and user privacy across all its platforms seriously.”
At the other end of the spectrum Amazon just edged out Netflix to earn itself the most successful 2018.
Google landed in the middle while Microsoft, Alibaba and Apple made their way to the top of the pack.
Aside from Amazon, which scored points for its tech advances and continued growth, Microsoft with its “best recovery” and Salesforce also earned shout outs for a successful 2018.
Which-50 readers deemed Snapchat irrelevant for “hitting a wall” in 2018.
Outside the technology industry, the banks were singled out for a dishonourable mention after a bruising set of Royal Commission hearings. Consulting firms and big tech vendors that over promise and under deliver are also on the naughty list this year.
When we asked our readers what was the most hyped technology of 2018, the most common answer was AI, followed by blockchain. Readers are also skeptical about voice, chatbots, VR and crypto currencies — specifically bitcoin which has enjoyed a speculator decline in value this year.
And finally we asked readers to tell us who impressed them this year. There was no stand out individual, however Paul Shetler, Julie Batch (although she lost votes for not returning my linkedin email in April), Marnie Baker , Alan Jones (the other one) and Nick Molnar were among those who’s achievements and profile were recognised by our readers.