Facebook investors want Zuckerberg to step down

Zuckerberg at F8

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is in the news again once more and it is not for good.

After a rocky year of privacy scandals that surrounded Facebook, several major Facebook investors are calling for Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to be removed from his role as chairman on the board.

The shareholders, which include the treasurers — lead investment officers — of several US states as well as the privately-owned firm Trillium Asset Management demanded on Wednesday that the roles of CEO and chairman be split. Zuckerberg, who co-founded the social media behemoth, currently holds both positions.

Zuckerberg serves as both the CEO and the chairman for Facebook — the proposal points to the latter position, requesting the board make the chairman position independent from the company’s CEO role. The group says that making this change would not only be in the best interest of shareholders, but of employees, Facebook users, and U.S. democracy in general.

The shareholder proposal follows a series of controversies and scandals at the technology firm, including large-scale data breaches and accusations that the social network has become a platform for misinformation campaigns and political propaganda.

The proposal cites several recent controversies that have embroiled Facebook, including the Cambridge Analytica data-selling scandal and Russian interference in the U.S. elections. The list also charges Facebook with partial culpability for the violence in Myanmar, India, and South Sudan as well as allowing advertisers to exclude minorities, and spreading fake news.

“Facebook plays an outsized role in our society and our economy. They have a social and financial responsibility to be transparent,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said.

“That’s why we’re demanding independence and accountability in the company’s boardroom,” he added.

The proposal is to be put to a vote at Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2019 but is unlikely to be approved.
Zuckerberg and a small group of allies control nearly 70% of the company’s voting rights, a situation another shareholder said is “akin to a dictatorship” earlier this year.

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