August 11, 2022

Nonprofits including the American Federation of Teachers, the Anti-Defamation League and the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD are throwing their weight behind a Meta shareholder effort to place checks on “toxic” Mark Zuckerberg’s power at the company’s board meeting next week, The Post has learned. 

On Tuesday, the groups came out in support of two Meta shareholder resolutions that supporters say would give much-needed oversight of Instagram and Facebook, as well as examine the potential “dystopian downsides” of Zuckerberg’s metaverse push. 

SumOfUs, a corporate accountability group working with several activist Meta shareholders, introduced the resolutions in April, as first reported by The Post. 

The group points to three crises facing Meta as evidence of Zuckerberg’s failed leadership: privacy restrictions by Google and Apple that have damaged Meta’s advertising business, the growing momentum for antitrust lawsuits and bills targeting Meta and other big tech firms, as well as allegations that Zuckerberg has lied to investors and lawmakers about Instagram’s harmful effects on teens and other ills.

“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.”

Meta’s shares are down roughly 41% so far this year. 

“We cannot let Mark Zuckerberg continue running Meta so recklessly,” said Christina O’Connell of SumOfUs.
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Other groups that have come out in support of SumOfUs’ resolutions on Tuesday include the consumer advocate Public Citizen, the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America and the healthcare advocacy group Doctors for America. 

The first resolution they support calls for an outside assessment of Meta’s Audit and Risk Oversight Committee, a board the company created in 2020 that is supposed to be independent from Zuckerberg and makes decisions about content moderation issues such as former President Donald Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram. The groups say that Meta’s current struggles show the oversight board may not be doing its job well. 

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The second resolution sounds the alarm about “potential psychological and civil and human rights harms” associated with Zuckerberg’s metaverse push and calls on Meta to commission a third-party audit of the metaverse’s potential risks — such as the potential for harassment, as well as privacy concerns — then hold a shareholder vote to see whether investors support the project. 

As part of the push, the groups are buying airtime on CNBC in New York and the Bay Area during the coming week for ads that urge Meta investors to “hold Mark accountable.” 

Shareholders will vote on whether to approve the resolutions ahead of Meta’s annual shareholder meeting, which is set for next Wednesday.  Backers of the proposals will be allowed to speak at the virtual meeting and the results of the vote will be announced afterward. 

The company has urged investors to vote against the resolutions, arguing that they are unnecessary. 

Meta’s unconventional ownership structure allows Zuckerberg to effectively veto any shareholder attempt to change the company’s operations. His stake in Meta is composed largely of “supervoting” shares, allowing him to control roughly 58% of votes when the company considers shareholder proposals.