Shareholders demand Facebook's Zuckerberg step down as chairman

Following a year marked by scandal, several key Facebook shareholders sign ambitious proposal to have Zuckerberg removed

22Oct

A number of Facebook's most prominent shareholders have signed a proposal that demands Mark Zuckerberg step down from his position as chairman of the social media giant.

State treasurers from Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Illinois along with the New York City Pension Fund signed a Trillium Asset Management proposal calling for Zuckerberg to be removed as chairman but remain Facebook's CEO. Instead, they called for an independent chairman to take over the responsibility.

"Facebook's governance structure continues to put its investors at risk," Illinois state treasurer Michael Frerichs wrote in the filing.

"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," Frerichs added.


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In the proposal, the shareholders cited a number of the recent scandals that have directly implicated Facebook such as: "Russian meddling in US elections; sharing personal data of 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica; data sharing with device manufacturers including Huawei which is flagged by US Intelligence as a national security threat; proliferating fake news; propagating violence in Myanmar, India, and South Sudan; depression and other mental health issues including stress and addiction; and allowing advertisers to exclude black, Hispanic and other "ethnic affinities" from seeing ads."

The proposal is set to be put to a vote at the annual shareholder meeting in May 2019, but it is generally expected to be declined. This is because "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", Euronews reported.

A similar, unsuccessful proposal was filed in April this year just after the Cambridge Analytica scandal first broke and shortly before Zuckerberg's US Senate testimony in response.

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