The Ranking Digital Rights 2018 Corporate Accountability Index evaluates 22 of the world’s most powerful internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies on their disclosed commitments and policies affecting freedom of expression and privacy.

Internet and mobile ecosystem companies
Telecommunications companies

Key findings

17 of the 22 companies evaluated for the 2018 Index improved scores in at least one area, and many made multiple improvements in the past year. Yet companies still fall short:

  • Privacy: Companies fail to disclose enough about what user information is collected and shared, with whom, and under what circumstances.

  • Security: Companies provide insufficient evidence of measures to protect users’ information.

  • Expression: Companies keep the public in the dark about how content and information flows are policed and shaped through their platforms and services.

  • Governance: Too few companies make users’ expression and privacy rights a central priority for corporate oversight, governance, and risk assessment.

The 2018 Index ranks 22 companies on 35 indicators across three categories evaluating how transparent companies are about commitments and policies affecting freedom of expression and privacy. The Index evaluates policies of the parent company, operating company and those of selected services (depending on company structure).

Read more about the methodology, research process and how we score each company.

2018 Company ranking

How do the companies compare?

Year-on-year comparison

Which companies improved the most? To read how each company performed in comparison to the 2017 Index go to the Compare page.

Report Highlights

Inadequate disclosure

While more than half of the companies evaluated in the past two Indexes have made meaningful improvements, they still fall short in disclosing basic information to users about the design, management, and governance of the digital platforms and services that affect human rights. Read Chapter 3: Inadequate disclosure.

Security uncertainty

Companies lack transparency about what they do to protect users’ data, which means people don’t know the security, privacy, and human rights risks they face when using a particular platform or service. Read Chapter 4: Security uncertainty.

Privacy failures

Internet and mobile ecosystem companies don’t disclose enough about how they handle user information, which makes it difficult to assess the privacy, security, and human rights risks of using their services. Read Chapter 5: Privacy failures.

Policing speech

Users are in the dark about the role that internet and mobile companies, governments, and a range of private parties play in policing the flow of information online. Read Chapter 6: Policing speech.

Telecommunications disconnect

Most of the changes by telecommunications companies came from Global Network Initiative members. Other companies have made few changes in the past year. Read Chapter 7: Telecommunications Disconnect.