Facebook falls 37 places in the 2018 FutureBrand Index as tech trust scores suffer

Facebook has fallen 37 places in the 2018 FutureBrand Index of the world’s most powerful brands, following a series of scandals which have plagued the social media giant.

The most recent edition of the biennial FutureBrand Index claims Facebook fell in several key areas including trust, admiration, passion, innovation and thought leadership.

The index takes PwC’s Global Top 100 Companies by Market Cap and reorders it by perception strength rather than financial strength. The companies are measured on 18 indicators across purpose and experience, including factors such as individuality, innovation, respect and trust.

Facebook 2016 vs Facebook 2018 Source: FutureBrand

The report gave Facebook a low ‘Future Proof Factor’, something the social media giant now shares with Walmart, Volkswagen and HSBC. According to FutureBrand, Facebook is also perceived as one of the brands that will fall behind the most in three years’ time.

Other tech companies didn’t fare much better, with IBM falling 17 places and Google’s Alphabet and Microsoft falling 10 places apiece.

Apple, which was number one in the previous 2016 survey, fell three places to fourth place.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, as The Walt Disney company rose to the top spot after climbing three places from the previous survey. The position puts it 50 places higher than its PwC ranking, which considers its financial strength rather than perception strength.

Netflix appeared as a new entry to the index this year, achieving 15th spot, putting it 48 places higher than its position in the PwC report.

Facebook’s drop in trust can largely be attributed to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed UK data science company Cambridge Analytica had misused Facebook users’ data during recent UK and US election campaigns. Facebook was forced to restrict developers’ access to user data in the wake of the scandal, which was followed by a widely publicised US congressional hearing in which founder Mark Zuckerberg was questioned, among other things, on the company’s advertiser-funded model.

Facebook ads have been targeted in Australia after a series of scandals

Locally, Australian MPs from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security have threatened to summon Zuckerberg to Australia, after the New York Times revealed Facebook had agreed to incorporate data-sharing features with smartphone manufacturers in return for them building the social media service’s feature into their software in the late 2000s.

“In this year’s FutureBrand Index, there’s a growing sense that while technology may well bring new and exciting experiences, the point of these can sometimes get lost and consequently lack meaning,” said Richard Curtis, the CEO of FutureBrand APAC.

“Two years ago, the index highlighted the start of this trend as the tech pioneers appeared to be losing ground to the likes of Nike and other strong brands from mature organisations that had invested strategically in technology to support growth through seamless, connected experiences.”

Curtis explained how trust issues in the tech sector seem to have exacerbated this trend, adding: “You only have to look to the healthcare sector to find good examples of brands applying technology with meaning – and in ways that are now taking those brands from the labs into people’s lives.

“To succeed in the future, you need to do more than come up with the latest technology – you have to use it to create better products, services and experiences that improve the lives of customers. It sounds simple, but it can make a significant difference.”


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