Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg faced repeated grillings from the company's investors during the firm's annual shareholder meeting held Thursday in Menlo Park, California. Bloomberg reports that the gathering was heated and highly unconventional, with one woman being kicked out in a matter of minutes for frequent interruptions. Shareholder proposals meant to lead to more oversight and transparency at the world's largest social media giant failed, with Mr. Zuckerberg still having enough special stock that allows him to maintain a tight grip on the firm, coming with much more voting powers than regular shares do.
Facebook representatives insisted the tech giant is committing significant resources to improving transparency and accountability, having described the rejection of shareholder proposals as an indicator that Mr. Zuckerberg has different ideas for addressing those issues than investors do. The CEO's decision to vote against the proposals hence isn't meant to be interpreted as a signal that Facebook doesn't care about transparency, a company official was cited as saying. At one point during the meeting, a plane holding a banner saying "You Broke Democracy" flew over the firm's corporate headquarters, having been paid for by activist group Freedom From Facebook which is presently calling for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to break up the social media network.
A similar sentiment was recently expressed among the ranks of the European Parliament, with a number of its members openly asking Mr. Zuckerberg what he can say in response to Facebook being viewed as a monopoly. The company had a troublesome start to the year after already struggling with damage control regarding fake news and election meddling scandals enabled by its platform in 2017, having also came under scrutiny over the Cambridge Analytics debacle and a number of smaller episodes which outlined how questionable its user data protection practices are, especially in regards to how third parties are able to abuse the platform and violate people's privacy for profit. Despite major issues, most investors appear to be pleased with how Facebook responded to them, with the company's stock fully recovering this spring, ending Thursday trading at over $191, close to its all-time high of roughly $193.