Facebook shareholders have expressed desire to reduce CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s powers, following several high profile scandals that have hit the social media giant in the recent past.
Among the scandals listed by the investors include the sharing of personal data of 87 million Facebook users with Cambridge Analytica, the proliferation of fake news, the alleged meddling of the US elections by Russia and the alleged propagating of violence in Myanmar, India, and South Sudan.
In a proposal that will be discussed on Facebook’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2019, the shareholders who hold public funds in Facebook announced on October 17 that they are looking towards making the role of the Chair of the Board an independent position, effectively curtailing some of the control Mr Zuckerberg has over the firm.
“Doing so is best governance practice that will be in the interest of shareholders, employees, users, and our democracy,” the proposers say.
This happens despite having a similar proposition voted down in 2017.
The proposal has been filed by Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
The proposal is also supported by investment management firm Trillium Asset Management.
“These filings come on the heels of Facebook’s latest controversy, a data breach affecting 30 million accounts,” the shareholders said in a press statement.
“Facebook’s governance structure continues to put its investors at risk. Now is the time for change. We need to see more accountability of Mark Zuckerberg to the Board of Directors to restore investor confidence and protect shareholder value,” said Mr Frerichs.
“We are entering a new phase of Facebook’s growth,” said Jonas Kron, a senior vice president at Trillium. “As we confront the ways in which Facebook’s technology has outstripped our ability to understand how it affects society, it is time to put limits on Zuckerberg and make some structural changes.”
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