Nonprofit groups organize, aim to reign in Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘toxic’ power position

Following Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement in October that the Facebook company will thereafter be known as Meta, several non-profit organizations are joining a shareholder initiative aimed at reigning in Zuckerberg’s “toxic” power position in the social media behemoth.

Some of the interested parties include the Anti-Defamation League, the American Federation of Teachers and GLAAD.

Ahead of next week’s board meeting, the groups said on Tuesday that more oversight of Instagram and Facebook is needed to defend against the “dystopian downsides” of Zuckerberg’s ideas for a so-called “metaverse” of social technology.

SumOfUs, a corporate accountability group that includes a number of Meta shareholders, introduced its plans in April, the New York Post reported.

The group names three issues as evidence to their claims that Zuckerberg’s leadership has failed shareholders.

One, privacy restrictions by Google and Apple have stymied their advertising revenue. Two, the company is subject to continuous anti-trust lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission, which claims the company is a monopoly. And three, that Zuckerberg has lied to investors about the inherent dangers Instagram poses for teenagers, the outlet wrote.

“Mark Zuckerberg is either unwilling or unable to run his company in a way that protects the best interests of Meta’s users or shareholders,” SumOfUs shareholder engagement advisor Christina O’Connell said on Tuesday. “We cannot let Mark Zuckerberg continue running Meta so recklessly.”

Shares in Meta are down roughly 41 percent so far this year.

Other groups in support of the resolutions put forth by SumOfUs include the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America, the healthcare advocacy group Doctors for America, and the consumer advocate Public Citizen.

The first resolution calls for an independent investigation into Meta’s Audit and Risk Oversight Committee created in 2020 and which is supposed to be independent of Zuckerberg. The committee is charged with content moderation, and the groups claim that Meta’s decline in value is a result of mismanagement in that area.

The second resolution seeks to raise the issue of “potential psychological and civil and human rights harms” supposedly as a result of Zuckerberg’s rebranding of Facebook which they say poses risks of harassment and concerns for privacy. The measure proposes an audit of Meta’s practices to commence after a shareholder vote on whether to implement the program.

The groups have purchased airtime on CNBC in New York and the Bay Area during the coming week, and will broadcast ads urging Meta investors to “hold Mark accountable.”

The resolutions will be put to a vote ahead of Meta’s annual shareholder meeting set for Wednesday. Proponents of the resolutions will be allowed to speak at the meeting to be followed by an announcement of the voting results.

Zuckerberg owns roughly 58 percent of Meta and enjoys veto privileges over any shareholder attempt to alter the company’s practices.

The company insists the proposed resolutions are unnecessary and urges investors to vote against them.

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