Facebook’s board of directors uniformly shot down a string of shareholder proposals calling for checks on CEO and board chair Mark Zuckerberg’s power.
Eight shareholder proposals were submitted seeking to challenge Zuckerberg’s control over the board and each of them were rejected during the social media giant’s annual shareholder meeting in Menlo Park, California.
It was widely expected that the proposals would fail, as Zuckerberg has monopoly voting power, controlling 88 percent of Facebook’s shares and therefore giving him approximately 58 percent of the vote.
Scroll down for video
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) is facing a vote calling for him to stand down at the firm’s annual shareholder meeting, being held today
Some of the firm’s shareholders are keen for Mr Zuckerberg to step down as the chair of the Facebook board and hire a replacement so that he can focus on the running of the social media company as a whole.
Similar proposals calling for a redistribution of voting power have been submitted – and rejected – by shareholders for the past five years.
Outside the investor meeting, protesters from advocacy groups SumOfUs and Bend the Arc called for the breakup of Facebook as well as for Zuckerberg to lose his board chair position.
They held a giant inflatable angry emoji, as well as signs that said ‘Facebook is out of control’ and ‘Vote no on Zuckerberg,’ while a plane flew overhead with a banner that said ‘Break up Facebook.’
With the proposals’ failure, Zuckerberg will not be unwillingly ousted from his present roles — not unless he first sells a significant proportion of his current shares.
Although Zuckerberg presently owns a minority of Facebook’s overall shares, the firm’s dual-class voting structure empowers early investors with around 10 times the voting power of later investors.
Even if any move to oust Mr Zuckerberg from the CEO seat is inherently doomed to fail, how Facebook’s shareholders elect to vote will serve as a display of confidence in the present leadership structure.
Mr Zuckerberg currently serves as both Facebook’s CEO and the chair of its board of directors.
Facebook shareholders NorthStar Asset Management and Trillium Asset Management would like to see this voting system change and Mr Zuckerberg step down.
Mr Zuckerberg’s controlling power means that moves to limit his influence at shareholder meetings are also extremely unlikely to be passed.
However, this will be the fifth year in a row in which CEO of NorthStar Asset Management Julie Goodridge has put forward a motion to the Facebook board proposing changes to the present voting system.
‘We [will] resubmit until we no longer can,’ Ms Goodridge told Bloomberg.
‘Or until the company changes and meets our needs, which obviously they’re not going to do,’ she added.
The vote of no confidence is unlikely to pass without Zuckerberg’s agreement, however, as he controls 58 per cent of the vote
Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos recently joined calls for Mr Zuckerberg to step aside as chair.
He proposed this as an alternative to recent suggestions that the social networking firm should itself be broken up.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and other critics have contended that government regulators should require Facebook to spin off popular services such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
However, Mr Stamos believes that this would just create ‘three companies that have the same fundamental problems.’
Facebook has been grappling with such issues as privacy, fake news and hate speech on its various platforms.
Mr Stamos left Facebook last year as the company dealt with fallout from bogus information spread on its social network.
FACEBOOK’S PRIVACY DISASTERS
December 2018: Facebook comes under fire after a bombshell report discovered the firm allowed over 150 companies, including Netflix, Spotify and Bing, to access unprecedented amounts of user data, such as private messages.
Some of these ‘partners’ had the ability to read, write, and delete Facebook users’ private messages and to see all participants on a thread.
It also allowed Microsoft’s search engine, known as Bing, to see the name of all Facebook users’ friends without their consent.
Amazon was allowed to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and Yahoo could view streams of friends’ posts.
As of last year, Sony, Microsoft, and Amazon could all obtain users’ email addresses through their friends.
September 2018: Facebook disclosed that it had been hit by its worst ever data breach, affecting 50 million users – including those of Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Attackers exploited the site’s ‘View As’ feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other users.
Facebook says it has found no evidence ‘so far’ that hackers broke into third-party apps after a data breach exposed 50 million users (stock image)
The unknown attackers took advantage of a feature in the code called ‘Access Tokens,’ to take over people’s accounts, potentially giving hackers access to private messages, photos and posts – although Facebook said there was no evidence that had been done.
The hackers also tried to harvest people’s private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebook’s systems.
Facebook said it doesn’t yet know if information from the affected accounts has been misused or accessed, and is working with the FBI to conduct further investigations.
However, Mark Zuckerberg assured users that passwords and credit card information was not accessed.
As a result of the breach, the firm logged roughly 90 million people out of their accounts earlier today as a security measure.
March 2018: Facebook made headlines earlier this year after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy.
The disclosure has prompted government inquiries into the company’s privacy practices across the world, and fueled a ‘#deleteFacebook’ movement among consumers.
Communications firm Cambridge Analytica had offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.
The company boasts it can ‘find your voters and move them to action’ through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.
‘Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,’ with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.
The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump
This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.
This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters’ choices at the ballot box.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump.
This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.
It has also suffered several previous issues.
In 2013, Facebook disclosed a software flaw that exposed 6 million users’ phone numbers and email addresses to unauthorized viewers for a year, while a technical glitch in 2008 revealed confidential birth-dates on 80 million Facebook users’ profiles.