Worst Company In America Round One: Facebook Vs. Sprint

Here we have a Round One battle between two opponents with peculiar predicaments. In one corner is a website that continually tries to invade your privacy but to which everyone on the planet seems to belong. And in the other corner is the phone company that claims to offer truly unlimited data plans, but which can’t seem to get new customers.

Facebook landed under the Federal Trade Commission’s microscope for its apparent inability — and deliberate unwillingness — to protect users’ private information, in spite of promises that it was doing so. As part of the settlement with the FTC, the site now has to undergo independent audits for the next 20 years to show that it’s not sharing information you didn’t agree to make public.

But that hasn’t stopped the company from allowing app after app to include permissions that grant app-makers access to data that have absolutely nothing to do with the application. Nor has it stopped Facebook from its program of “sponsored” posts, where Facebook takes the mere fact that your friend “liked” a page — even if that person did so merely to post a negative comment — and turns it into a paid advertisement. Not surprisingly, the future of this program will likely end up being decided in court.

For much of the last year, the only news that Sprint has made involves its complaints about — and lawsuit to block — the now-failed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile USA. One would think that in a year when both Verizon and AT&T began throttling some “unlimited” data plan customers, there would be an exodus of wireless users to Sprint, especially since it now has the iPhone.

Maybe it’s because, in spite of Sprint ads touting its unlimited phone service, people know that the company recently got rid of similar unlimited data plans for mobile broadband and hotspot users?

Or maybe it’s because Sprint jacked up its early termination fees on smartphones and tablets from $200 to $350?

So now it’s time to decide whether you want to unlike Facebook or hang up on Sprint.

(Voting for this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday March 20.)

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    I’m conflicted.

  2. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    There really should be a ‘like’ button to cast our votes for Facebook

  3. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Going to be a slaughter. FB by a landslide.

  4. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    I wonder if posting this on Facebook is against their privacy policy.

  5. humphrmi says:

    My worst experience with Sprint was ~10 years ago when I tried to get their line-of-sight internet service and even though I could see the building with their tower from the top of my roof, they refused to install it unless I agreed to buy a ~20ft mast for some outrageos price.

    Facebook, on the other hand, angers me regularly.

  6. Kredal says:

    I voted for Sprint. None of us is a “customer” for Facebook… we’re just the product that Facebook markets to advertisers. They don’t care what we think, as long as we keep going back and giving our pageviews to them.

  7. Jawaka says:

    I can’t bring myself to vote for Facebook but it’s a completely optional service.

    I did have problems with sprint in the past however. But then again, they are the only wireless provider that actually understand what the term unlimited means.

    I think that I’m just going to pass on this match.

  8. ThinkingBrian says:

    Wow sad to see that Sprint gets off the hook this year, but while Facebook isn’t your average company – your not a customer per say of theirs, they still do thinks on a regular basis to upset or angry their users.

  9. brinks says:

    Facebook has done things maliciously. Remember when each time they updated the site layout, they made your whole profile public?

    Don’t remember? Go check your privacy settings.

    • Jawaka says:

      I still can’t vote for a company that provides their completely optional services for free.

      Free. Are you not getting your money’s worth?

  10. dulcinea47 says:

    Sprint is a paid service, therefore IMO they actually owe it to you, their customer, to treat you decently. Facebook- you get what you pay for. It’s a free, optional, thing.

  11. Pete the Geek says:

    I voted for Sprint. While I don’t like the frequent changes on Facebook, the service doesn’t cost me anything and I am free to try another service if I want – even while I’m still using Facebook! Many years ago I got a Sprint cellphone. It didn’t work at my home or in my neighborhood. I called customer service and they told me someone would get back to me… wait 2 days, repeat. After the 3rd time I called, I realized that they were just stringing me along to get past the 14-day return window, so I returned to the phone and cancelled my service. I’ve read stories that indicate this practice is still happening. I don’t understand why the company’s integrity is worth the price of an Early Termination Fee.

    • quail says:

      Sadly, if you didn’t get the phone online from Sprint you were dealing with a third party retailer. It’s hard for Sprint to deal with the ethics of those people.

  12. Sian says:

    Had to vote for Sprint.. Facebook is exactly what it says on the tin. Can’t be angry when you get what you signed up for.

  13. Chmee says:

    I’ve never had a problem with FBs service, but I think that they’re intents border on insidious, so my vote they’ll get.

  14. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I’ve never used Sprint. I voted for Facebook because I don’t like Zuckerberg.

  15. cruiseyone says:

    Both of these companies are dreadful. But my vote goes to Facebook for ruining a perfectly wonderful site. I avoid it at all costs now. Shame on them

    This is a grudge match to the death.

  16. frank64 says:

    I have a good plan with sprint that would cost me much more on other networks. In the past they gave me free nights and weekends starting at 5PM for no additional charge. Now I pay $40 for 500 minutes, unlimited internet, unlimited text. I would have gone to one of the pay as you go’s a long time ago if it wasn’t for Sprint.

  17. Leftstrat says:

    I’m conflicted too… I hate facebook with a passion, but since about September/October, Sprint has given me all sorts of Network Busy errors, crappy data speeds, (0.11 to 0.28mbps..), and have denied that they are having any problems at all, while cheerefully, charging $10 extra a month, per phone for a “premium data plan..”. I get better speeds, when I find an att hotspot… It’s bad that the best speeds are from compitetor’s hotspots….

  18. homehome says:

    this is the 1st one icve felt strongly about. sprint has some of the worst upper management I’ve ever dealt with. the $10 fee thing was crazy and it seemed like they didn’t realize this would be pissing ppl off and had no plan for it. All the floor workers knew what was coming, but it seems like management didn’t. Their internal management is borderline clueless. They do everything to make ppl made, then get mad at the associates when they don’t get results. At least I don’t pay for facebook, you get what you pay for.

  19. Earl Butz says:

    Dumped Sprint for crap coverage, and that’s the ONLY reason. Quite happy otherwise. Was with them almost a decade; if they’d put money into their infrastructure instead of blowing it on hookers and coke, I’d still be a happy customer.

    Facebook, on the other hand, is free and it sucks.

  20. Geekybiker says:

    Facebook is malicious. Sprint is merely incompetent, and still better than their peers in many cases.

  21. c_c says:

    I’ve only had good experiences as a Sprint customer; quick response and solutions the couple of times I’ve had technical issues, and the pricing is really quite good, especially when you add in the 20% discount we’re getting through my wife’s employer.

  22. Lefturn says:

    Sprint never stood a chance…

  23. shadow roper says:

    As a Sprint escapee (previous employee), I really, really, really wanted to vote for Sprint. But, Facebook puts a whole new definition to plaid polyester-wearing sleazeballs.

  24. incident_man says:

    I was paying $40/month for Sprint’s SERO plan until a friend let me use his extra US Cellular phone for a week (he was going to cancel the line otherwise). After the week’s end, I ditched Sprint for US Cellular and I pay $79.99/month without any crap $10 smartphone surcharge. The call quality is way better and data speeds are so much faster, not to mention the fact that I get coverage most everywhere I go without any roaming….three things I couldn’t say about Sprint.

    BTW, my ETF is only $150, I don’t have to sign another contract when I upgrade (when the time comes), and I get points every month do do with as I please:


  25. shadow roper says:

    Sorry, read the other comments below and had to expand on my experience with Sprint. I worked there for 22 years, mostly on the wireline (long distance – hey remember long distance?) side of the house. Prior to the Sprint / Worldcom merger implosion, it was a great place to work. Good people – mostly, get-it-done attitude, keep things on the leading edge of technology. Unfortunately, after that merger failure (and thank God it failed), everything about working at Sprint got worse every year, year after year. If it had been at any time other than at the height of the recession, I would have danced out the door when the dancing RIF finger finally landed on me.

  26. BackInBlack says:

    Oh, Failbook, hands down. I don’t use the site, never have, never will, and don’t appreciate being slapped in the face on every OTHER site to log in using my FB account, share on FB, etc., etc. I really don’t appreciate everyone buying into FB to the point that I can’t even get a coupon or enter a sweepstakes for many of my favorite places because they require it to be done by “liking” them on Fakebook. They’re ubiquitous. How ironic is it you can sign into MySpace with your Facebook info now?

    Their continued privacy issues are appalling, and about once a year it seems, they slap their users in the face[book] with another change, like the recent (during their IPO) “reset” that suddenly resurrected EVERY deleted post or photo, ever (according to what I heard on the news). Fool you once, shame on Facebook. Fool you twice, shame on YOU. I wasn’t fooled from the outset.

    Sprint? Haven’t used them since I had them as a landline LD carrier (80s? 90s?), but had enough issues with the company that I wouldn’t trust them now with my cell service.

  27. DrRonster says:

    Terrible match! How about Sprint vs AT&T? Sprint vs Verizon or T-Mobile. Social networking should be vs other like types. Cellular vs cellular.

  28. teke367 says:

    One of the negatives against Sprint is the fact that everybody is just waiting for the unlimited data to end. That hasn’t happened yet, I can’t hold that against them.

    Sprint still has to improve, but they are definitely getting better over the last few years, Facebook is getting worse. I have to vote for Facebook, at least Sprint is trending in the right direction.