Which company has the most valuable brand according to news media, social media, and Twitter combined? If you guessed Apple, you’d be wrong. If you guessed Google, you’d still be wrong. General Sentiment‘s latest data lists the top 20 companies in the following order:

facebook apple google 520x650 Facebook passes Apple and Google to become worlds most valuable brand, as all news is good news

The eight-page “Q3 2012 Global Brands Media Value Report” (PDF) explains what happened:

  • Facebook joined our Media Value rankings this quarter and immediately dominated the list. Months after its IPO, the social networking service is still at the forefront of many minds. In mid-September, the company’s stock saw a boost after CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave his first interview since Facebook went public. However, Barron’s deemed its stock “still too pricey” near the end of the quarter.
  • Apple passed Google this quarter and retained the second place spot. The iPhone 5 made its much-awaited debut in late September. While many were excited about the new smartphone, its unveiling was quickly accompanied by criticism of the iOS 6 Maps app. CEO Tim Cook released a statement soon after apologizing for the failings of the new Maps app.
  • Google fell from first to third, dropping behind Apple and newly initiated Facebook. The search giant was often mentioned alongside criticism of Apple’s iOS 6 Maps; many stated that Apple should have just kept supporting Google Maps. Google’s stock set a new record in late September, surpassing the all-time high last seen in November 2007.

Apple passing Google we can understand, but how on Earth did Facebook manage to catapult itself to first place? After all, both companies are much bigger, make much more money, and have been around for much longer. Furthermore, the most recent brand report from Interbrand showed Facebook debuting on its top 100 list at number 69.

So, what gives? Read the bullet list again, and you’ll see that the iOS 6 Maps fiasco actually helped Apple beat out Google. As Forbes notes, this is a classic case of “all good news is good news” or “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”

Apple may be the best when it comes to the rumor mill and users complaining about some defect or another, and Google may be always in the news for entering an exciting new market or getting smacked around by some government, but when it comes to privacy disasters and user outrage, Facebook wins by a landslide. Oh, and the company’s poor stock performance also can’t hurt. I’m serious: in this case it can’t hurt the social networking giant, it can only help.

See also: Facebook officially passes 1 billion monthly active users

Image credit: Pam Roth