For the second year in a row, Facebook Inc., no stranger to civil rights issues and disputes, is calling for shareholders to vote against a resolution requiring a human rights expert. and civilian on his board.
Citing the global company’s role in amplifying genocide tensions in places like Myanmar and Ethopia, shareholder advocacy group Arjuna Capital is proposing that Facebook
install a board director who has “a high level of expertise and experience in human and / or civil rights and is so widely recognized.”
The proposal points to an ad boycott against Facebook by more than 300 advertisers last year on how to handle corporate hate speech, including not deleting posts by former President Donald Trump ( later banned him from the platform); the civil rights auditor found that Facebook was not doing enough to protect users from discriminatory posts and ads; and an accusation last year by a former employee that the company has ignored the political manipulation of foreign governments seeking to deceive their citizenship, among other things.
Monday, The guardian published an in-depth interview with that former employee, Sophie Zhang, who discovered fake account networks allowing political manipulation in different countries of the world. Among other things, she alleges that Facebook was slow to act on such findings unless there was press coverage about it, an accusation the company denies.
Facebook, which said its platform users totaled more than 2.7 billion people, was among many companies last year declaring solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and was one of many this year to oppose the Shareholders’ resolutions related to race. The company says it has addressed the issues raised by Arjuna in its proposal.
“We believe that implementation of this proposal is not necessary as we are constantly making progress in this area and working to combat abuse in our services, including their recent appointments. I’m in the lead for human rights and civil rights, ”Facebook said in a protest statement that included its proxy, which went public on Monday.
Those appointments included the company hiring prominent lawyer Roy Austin, Jr as vice president for civil rights and deputy general counsel to oversee Facebook’s new civil rights group earlier this year. Facebook also mentioned that CEO Sheryl Sandberg heads a corporate civil rights task force, plus what it calls “meaningful action” in combating hate over your background.
The company added that its board “does not believe that setting aside a board seat for any predetermined profile is a good corporate governance practice and can limit the likelihood of of the board in identifying and recruiting the most qualified candidates, who must consider many issues. “
“The board of directors contradicts itself, arguing on the one hand that an expert of the human rights and human rights council cannot solve a wide range of issues, on the other hand is arguing about the extent of the human rights influence. and civil rights to Facebook’s operations, the degree of work in progress. and how much more work is needed, ”Natasha Lamb, Arjuna’s chief executive officer, told MarketWatch on Monday.
Lamb also said Facebook’s business model is “driven by clickbait”, which she calls the root cause of “racism, sexism, hatred and violence that exist on platforms. its.”
This is the second year Arjuna has proposed. Last year, 12% of shareholders voted in favor with it.
As for other shareholder resolutions, Facebook also recommends not to vote on:
One proposes that the company becomes a public company.
A solution for a board reporting abuse of the platform.
One proposed that the panel prepare a report on the impact of Facebook’s encryption policies on the sexual exploitation of children.
One solution where Facebook removed its two-layer stock structure.
A proposal for an independent board chairman. Mark Zuckerberg is both chairman and chief executive officer.
Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for May 26 at 10 a.m.