It was not a traditional Facebook shareholder assembly.
On Thursday in Menlo Park, one investor in contrast the social community’s poor stewardship of consumer knowledge to a human rights violation. Another warned that scandal shouldn’t be good for Facebook’s backside line. And one suggested Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to emulate George Washington, not Vladimir Putin, and keep away from turning Facebook right into a “corporate dictatorship.”
Facebook struggled to maintain order, kicking one lady out of the assembly throughout the first jiffy for repeated interruptions. A aircraft zipped overhead pulling a banner that learn “YOU BROKE DEMOCRACY” and promoting Freedom From Facebook, a bunch of privateness and anti-monopoly activists which can be urgent the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to break up the corporate.
“A lot has happened since last year when we were here,” Zuckerberg mentioned to open his remarks. It was an understatement, supposed to break the ice. One shareholder, Trillium Asset Management, got here with a listing of 15 distinct controversies, together with Russian interference in the united statespresidential election, the unfold of misinformation and considerations over knowledge privateness. Other buyers introduced up totally different points — from Facebook’s tax planning to a reluctance to launch stories on pay by gender.
Zuckerberg repeated the identical reassurances he utilized in entrance of U.S. and European lawmakers earlier this 12 months: The firm hasn’t taken a broad sufficient view of its accountability. When Facebook constructed its enterprise, “we didn’t do enough to be proactive about how people can abuse these tools,” he mentioned. Facebook is investing to make the required modifications to make sure the integrity of elections, scale back the proliferation of faux consumer accounts, and extra, he added.
“We’re also very focused on being more transparent,” Zuckerberg mentioned, touting the truth that the corporate had simply posted its insurance policies on content material moderation for the primary time.
Minutes earlier, the corporate introduced that shareholder proposals for extra transparency and oversight had failed, stunning nobody. Zuckerberg controls the corporate by means of particular inventory that provides him extra votes than different shareholders. Facebook mentioned that simply because the proposals had been blocked, that didn’t imply the corporate doesn’t care about these points. Zuckerberg and the board could have totally different concepts about how to resolve them.
The firm answered questions on all the things from bias to its affect on the area people. Facebook desires to be seen as a impartial platform for all concepts, Zuckerberg mentioned. The firm additionally desires to be neighbor, and is investing in transportation options, past buses for its staff, to ease visitors round its headquarters buildings.
The final questions got here from a shareholder who mentioned his spouse used to work in Facebook advertising and marketing. Why was the corporate on the defensive so typically? Why was everybody at all times blaming Facebook?
Zuckerberg mentioned when he sees damaging information protection, “I don’t agree with all of it, but I think some of it is very fair.”