written by
Steve Edwards

5 Companies With Bad Reputations (And How to Avoid Their Mistakes)

reputation management 3 min read

The digital age has made it more difficult than ever for companies with bad reputations to hide their mistakes.

From racist chatbots to the #metoo movement, we're covering 5 companies that have really stepped in it, so your business won't do the same.

Read on to find out who they are.

#5 Microsoft

Microsoft's recent unveiling of A.I. technology left developers scrambling to pull the plug. 'Tay', a robot designed to interact and converse with Twitter users, soon resulted in the chat-bot posting racist, xenophobic, and sexist tirades.

Tay was designed to use data mined from Twitter to create realistic conversations with users. This, however, was stunted by a huge design flaw. Tay's developers failed to recognize that because Tay learned from her interactions with other accounts, she would soon fall prey to reciting many of the same ideas.

Some of the statement tweeted at Tay were sent in an attempt to capitalize on her developer's errors. Internet trolls intentionally decided to feed Tay the 'red pill' for their own amusement.

Tay gladly took the bait. Soon Microsoft's unveiling of A.I. intelligence became a timeline of tweets glorifying Hitler, vilifying minorities, and calling for the death of feminists.

#4 Monsanto

Genetically modified seeds may sound like the food of the future, but Monsanto has taken a huge hit for destroying the lives of farmers whose crops were taken over by the weed-resistant plants. Monsanto has since introduced a chemical aimed at deactivating dicamba, the controversial chemical that makes Monsanto seeds resistant to weed-killers.

Monsanto has also received bad press for helping unethical companies sneak low-cost GMOs into food without informing consumers. Despite efforts to minimize the bad pass, Monsanto is a company still commonly regarded as unreputable.

#3 Wells Fargo

Found to be guilty of fraudulently charging their clients, opening accounts without permission. Wells Fargo hasn't made many new friends in the media lately.

What's worse? This American financial institution was found to be overcharging American veterans.

#2 Facebook

Social media giant Facebook has been fighting an uphill battle to save its reputation.
Pizzagate marked the beginning of new issues for Facebook as 'fake news' took center stage. Facebook was held responsible by million of its users for failing to police unfounded news stories that appeared on its site.

In recent months, allegations involving the sharing of user information have left even more users feeling uneasy about the site.

Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has even testified on Capitol Hill regarding user information that was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

#1 The Weinstein Company

Few organizations have taken a worse hit to their reputation than the Weinstein company. In October of 2017, The New York Times published a damning article about film producer Harvey Weinstein. The article detailed decades of sexual assault and harassment accusations involving Weinstein.

Within days, The Weinstein Company announced that the board had voted Harvey out, however, it was already too late in keeping themselves from becoming one of the most hated companies in America. By then, actresses ranging from Angelina Jolie to Ashley Judd had come forward to share their stories. As momentum grew, more and more women began to come forward saying that they had been assaulted, harassed, or raped by Weinstein.

Although it was years of misconduct that brought Harvey's career to an end, it took only days for the Weinstein Company to implode. Perhaps this company has been so severely impacted by the recent news because it shares its namesake with the accused. Many also believe that those who worked closely with Harvey were complicit in his crimes because they failed to report their knowledge.

Learn from the Worst

To avoid letting your company's reputation come into question, be sure to tackle any issues head-on. Remember that we live in an internet age. What could once be spent under the rug is likely to become the next trending topic.

Bad companies make big news! Learn from the mistakes made by these companies with bad reputations and keep your standards high.

For more ideas designed to help your business reach its potential check out our services.

reputation management