Telcos Overtake Social Media As Australia’s Most Distrusted Industry, As Media Again Ranks Poorly

Telcos Overtake Social Media As Australia’s Most Distrusted Industry, As Media Again Ranks Poorly

For the first time since Roy Morgan began measuring trust and distrust in 2018, the telecommunications (telco) industry has emerged as the most distrusted industry in the entire economy, usurping the unenviable position from the social media industry.

The recent woes of the telco industry have been driven primarily by the toxic levels of distrust that telco giant Optus experienced in the wake of its highly publicised data breach in September 2022.

In the 12 months to February, Optus was the second most distrusted brand in the economy, with Telstra the third most distrusted. Facebook remains the most distrusted brand in the country despite slightly lower levels of distrust in recent months, however Optus is closing in on the social media giant.

While the telco industry is the most distrusted industry in the economy, some brands in this industry are bucking the trend. Aussie Broadband is one of the most trusted brands in Australia, currently ranked 26th among all brands and is by far the most trusted telco.

The travel and tourism industry has also taken a fall in the industry Net Trust rankings, falling from 10th position to 13th, and now recording more distrust than trust. The industry has been brought down by heightened distrust of QANTAS, which has faced negative press coverage over the past year. QANTAS has fallen into Net Distrust territory for the first time this month, recording more distrust than trust.

Insurance was the other industry to fall in the rankings, contributed to by continued high levels of distrust in Medibank, which is now the 7th most distrusted brand in the economy. Along with the impact on Optus, this demonstrates how data breaches have a very real impact on a brand’s distrust levels, and that data security should be a top priority for all organisations. The insurance industry is now more distrusted than the gambling industry.  

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said brands needed to be aware of the dangers that distrust presetns in the wake of major scandals.

Levine said: “Unfortunately for Optus, it has been proven that brands which suffer major scandals find that once distrust takes hold, it is very difficult to curtail. In combination with Telstra’s existing position, as the third most distrusted brand in the economy, Optus has driven the telecommunications sector to be even more distrusted than the social media industry.

“We know that distrust makes a brand fragile and is a powerful driver in the decisions consumers make. High distrust in any industry’s key players opens the door for trusted brands to take market share.

“Risk assessments and procedures by executives and company directors across all industries need to formally factor-in distrust – indeed distrust should be on the risk register of every board in Australia.”

The latest Risk Report ranking over 200 brands on Net Trust or Net Distrust Scores is available here.

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