Facebook may be one of the largest and most influential companies in the world, but things haven’t gone the social media giant’s way in recent months.
One can only imagine the kind of questions that came up during Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.
Just consider all the scandals the company has been involved in:
There were the allegations that Russian groups used the site to sow chaos in the minds of Americans as then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton battled it out in the 2016 presidential election.
Then, just this past March, Facebook faced more questions, this time due to a scandal involving the leak of 87 million users’ data to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that had ties to the Trump presidential campaign.
Regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, really had no choice but to admit that the private data of tens of millions of people had been leaked. Zuckerberg spent several days testifying before Congress and tried to assure lawmakers — and the world — that users could once again trust Facebook.
Another, lesser-known scandal — though it’s just as important — Facebook has gotten itself caught up in has to do with the social media company’s alleged censorship of conservative viewpoints.
For years, Facebook has faced allegations that it suppressed news from conservative outlets. Then, in mid-March, an analysis conducted by The Western Journal revealed that Facebook’s much-publicized demotion of publishers’ content in users’ news feeds negatively impacted conservative-leaning publishers significantly more than liberal-leaning outlets.
Needless to say, shareholders were going to have a lot of questions on Thursday for Zuckerberg and the company’s other higher-ups.
Though the meeting was closed to the public, a report from Business Insider suggests Zuckerberg did indeed face questions about a variety of issues, including his company’s alleged censorship of conservatives.
“Shareholders peppered Zuckerberg and his fellow executives and board members with questions about their ability and commitment to identify and delete fake accounts and abusive posts, the lack of diversity among Facebook’s executive ranks, and the alleged censorship of conservative voices on its social-networking service,” Business Insider reported.
It’s not clear exactly how Zuckerberg responded to these questions, particularly the ones about censorship of conservatives, but it seems that in a lot of ways, he ignored his shareholders’ concerns.
“Zuckerberg stuck to his talking points,” Business Insider explained. “In response to the criticisms, Zuckerberg and his colleagues ignored the concerns about the company’s governance and calls for more transparency about its hiring practices.”
It would appear that for all his talk of being open to change, Zuckerberg really wants to keep Facebook the way it is.
It’s understandable, in a way. He’s just 34 years old, and he’s already one of the richest men in the world. Why mess with a good thing?
The problem is that his shareholders don’t seem to be content with the status quo, but they might not have the power to make a difference.
Zuckerberg controls roughly 60 percent of the voting power, so it’s not like he needs approval from the shareholders to do whatever he likes.
Thus, as Business Insider noted, “it was no surprise that Facebook’s entire slate of directors was elected and all of the shareholder sponsored proposals were voted down.”
Despite the sentiments of the shareholders, Zuckerberg has complete control over his own not-so-little world. And it seems like he will continue to rule in whatever way he pleases.
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