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From top clockwise: Frances Haugen, Elon Musk, Melinda French Gates. Photos by Bloomberg; AP. Art by Mike Sullivan

The Best and Worst in Tech PR in 2021

Photo: From top clockwise: Frances Haugen, Elon Musk, Melinda French Gates. Photos by Bloomberg; AP. Art by Mike Sullivan

It would be an understatement to say that Frances Haugen and her employer, the company formerly known as Facebook, had very different years.

From a public relations standpoint, the two are mirror images of each other. Haugen was feted as a whistleblowing legend for providing the internal documents that formed the foundation for The Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files” series, followed by a slew of articles in other publications, which exposed damning details about the company’s operations. And while Facebook—now known as Meta Platforms—remains a moneymaking machine, its reputation took a precipitous downward turn in the wake of Haugen’s revelations.

Haugen and Facebook were just two of The Information staff’s nominees for the best and worst in PR in the tech industry this year. We picked three in each category that we thought best exemplified the two ends of the PR spectrum. And we also included one unconventional nominee—Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX CEO—in his own category since he seems to transcend the whole concept of good and bad PR. Here are our nominees:

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