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Expand chart
Data: The Axios Harris Poll 100; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook's reputation took a long dive over the past year, staggering under an avalanche of controversies, a new Harris Poll survey in partnership with Axios has found.

Why it matters: Other tech giants, including Google and Apple, have seen their reputations decline as well. But Facebook's drop in the Axios Harris Poll 100, a new partnership between Axios and Harris Poll, is in a class of its own — suggesting that the social network may be uniquely vulnerable to a loss of public confidence.

Facebook's annus horribilis included:

  • The Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • Concerns about election-manipulating misinformation.
  • Charges of anti-conservative bias.
  • Security breaches.
  • Privacy controversies.

The big picture: Facebook has lagged its tech-behemoth brethren from the year it first entered Harris' list in 2013. But the latest rank represents a new low.

  • It ranked especially low in some of the individual characteristics that make up the overall score, including citizenship, ethics and trust.
  • Google and Apple have also seen their previously sterling reputations tarnish, though not as severely as Facebook's.

Amazon, which fell from the top position to second place in the Harris poll, is coasting serenely above the privacy-controversy maelstrom.

  • That could be because customers hold a different set of expectations for what is essentially a store, compared to a platform like Facebook or Google where people mingle, share and argue.
  • As Amazon's Echo smart speakers and Alexa voice assistant move the retail giant into homes, it's likely to face more privacy challenges.

The bottom line: Facebook hasn't suffered too much damage from all of the scrutiny so far — there's no sign that masses of users are deleting their accounts. But the reputational damage could become a problem if it starts having an impact on how much time users spend on Facebook and how much they share.

Methodology: The Axios Harris Poll 100 survey was conducted November through January in a nationally representative sample. One group, 6,118 U.S. adults, was asked to identify the two companies they believe have the best and worst reputations. Then, the 100 “most visible companies” were ranked by a second group of 18,228 adults across key measures of corporate reputation.

Go deeper

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

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President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with first lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.