Newground Social Investment co-filed a shareholder proposal to Facebook that calls on the company to address systemic operational issues that have compromised privacy, led to serious human rights abuses (including genocide and human trafficking), and allowed Russia and others to meddle in the elections of Britain, America, and other countries.
The goal of the proposal is to reestablish the platform as a positive force for connecting people and for building peaceful, civil, and democratic societies around the world.
Newground co-filed the #RebootFacebook proposal with the As You Sow Foundation in an effort to reestablish public trust in the social media giant, whose brand has suffered in the wake of countless avoidable scandals.
The full text of the #RebootFacebook shareholder proposal and its supporting statement appear below, and in this PDF file:
Whereas: Facebook’s brand has diminished in value due to missteps by management around privacy, data collection, and user abuse of the forum, including:
- Genocide incited by Facebook posts by Myanmar military;
- Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of millions of Facebook users’ data;
- Facebook empowering Russian bots to influence 2016 US elections;
- Allowing over 45 million images of child pornography and torture on Facebook also linked to sex trafficking;
- Political advertisements containing deliberate lies and mistruths;
- The use of micro-targeting that is extremely difficult to track, divides our users while undermining democracy;
- Use of the platform for hate speech; anti-immigrant violence; and purchasing weapons;
Failure to adequately address these issues has caused investors’ deep concern over Company’s governance leading to ”delete Facebook” campaigns and “a thriving culture of hate speech.” This has resulted in human suffering and political upheaval. Even Facebook’s employees are calling for change.
CEO and Chairman Mark Zuckerberg was unable to defend polices that enable political mistruths and distortions in elections when called before Congress. Facebook signed the “Contract for the Web” yet does not fulfill its obligations to “respect and protect people’s privacy” or “support the best in humanity and challenge the worst.” Investors believe Facebook needs a reboot to redeem our brand.
Be It Resolved: Shareholders request management and the board “Reboot Facebook,” by making the changes below by Labor Day 2020. Designating a specific date creates a symbolic “before and after;” Facebook 1.0 vs. Facebook 2.0. Actions include:
- Delete all images of child pornography and torture, remove all associated accounts, and work with law enforcement to bring abusers to justice;
- Delete all fake accounts and establish a verification system to improve expeditious removal;
- Delete all political ads containing lies and mistruths based on Facebook employee recommendations to avoid adverse impact on our political system;
- Publicly agree to a policy stating that Facebook will abide by campaign advertising rules like all U.S. broadcasters and end micro-targeting of groups smaller than 5,000 people;
- As a show of goodwill and until the platform can be effectively monitored, disallow any political ads Labor Day through the 2020 election;
- Provide full transparency of the Reboot process including listing deleted political ads, bots, fake accounts, fake news, deep fakes and accounts closed;
- Disclose budget committed to fix these issues to inform other platforms as a case study of best practices; and
- Establish systems to maintain all of the above going forward with public transparency.
Supporting Statement: Proponents believe Facebook can demonstrate how a responsible company operates to protect all stakeholders, repair brand reputation, improve platform integrity, adopt self-regulation, and avoid the destruction of shareholder value. A Facebook reboot can start a new era of responsible operation. We hope this action will be taken in time to preserve our brand reputation and material holdings in the Company.
Download a PDF of the #Reboot Facebook shareholder proposal.