Facebook prevails on shareholder votes, tallies to come later

BOSTON (Reuters) - Facebook Inc FB.O executives said the company prevailed on all its director nominees and shareholder proposals up for a vote at its annual meeting on Thursday, where activist investors pressed leaders on topics like the oversight of questionable content.

A Facebook booth is seen at the China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China May 27, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

However, the company did not immediately provide final vote tallies, leaving unclear to what extent outside shareholders sided with Facebook and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. He and other insiders control about 60 percent of votes at the world’s largest social media network.

Facebook has been under scrutiny from regulators and shareholders after it failed to protect the data of some 87 million users that was shared with now-defunct political data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Executives at the meeting in Menlo Park, California, which was webcast, said they would disclose full voting results in coming days. Investors questioned Zuckerberg and other company leaders on issues such whether to reform the company’s voting structure, or do a better job monitoring abusive content.

“Users may leave the social media platform if they feel it lacks integrity,” said Natasha Lamb of Arjuna Capital at one point. She voiced support for a shareholder proposal calling for Facebook to issue a report reviewing risks it could face from problem content like fake news and hate speech.

Zuckerberg responded by reiterating the company’s previous plans such as to verify the identity of advertisers and to increase security spending.

“We’re going to make sure that we take a broader view of our responsibility,” Zuckerberg said. “At the same time we also feel a responsibility to keep building the next generation of new experiences that are going help us all connect in meaningful new ways.”


Top proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services had recommended investors withhold support from five Facebook directors including Zuckerberg, and backed five of the six shareholder measures.

Top investors including Vanguard Group Inc and Fidelity Investments declined to discuss their votes. Some, but not all funds that call themselves socially responsible, have said they are selling or rethinking their Facebook holdings.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Facebook and the Service Employees International Union said the company had adopted the so-called Rooney Rule for future board appointments, to review a diverse slate of candidates.

Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Richard Chang