Mark Zuckerberg was on the hot seat at a recent Meta (Facebook and Instagram) shareholder meeting. Resolutions calling for reports on lobbying, creating an independent chair, and constraints on his proposed “Metaverse” were all put forward. The good news for Zuckerberg, they all went up in smoke.
Indeed, not a single one of the 15 resolutions put forward by shareholders passed—and only one received above 20% of the vote. To be sure, the reigning monarch of Facebook and Instagram retains a tight control over his kingdom.
Among those voted down included left-of-center proposals on “misinformation.” Put forward by a group called “Shareholder commons,” it attacked Meta for allowing “misinformation” to be spread—such as voter fraud and climate denialism—on its platform claiming that it will “stoke division and weaken our democracy,” and weaken our economy. This somewhat 1984-ish proposal, fortunately, went nowhere.
On the positive side, a resolution by CFACT’s ally the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) was also introduced. It sought to have the company perform “an audit analyzing the Company’s impacts on civil rights and non-discrimination, and the impacts of those issues on the Company’s business.”
NCPPR spokesman, Scott Shepard, indicated such discrimination is prevalent at Facebook and Instagram, especially with respect to conservative and libertarian viewpoints, and felt conducting such an audit might be useful to help the company’s leadership become aware of how it is losing customers due to the political bias of its fact-checkers. Shepard noted:
“This has not been a good year for Facebook’s integrity. It has been caught in lie after lie and may be caught in many more when federal investigatory power next changes hands. It has actively interfered in the U.S. political process on claims that have proven false; what it labels misinformation turns out to be true; what it supports, false. At very minimum Facebook would be wise to get outside of its bubble to find out that all Americans have not only civil rights but the same civil rights, so that its equity-based discrimination is very illegal indeed.”
Unfortunately, like all the other proposals, this one too went down to defeat.
CFACT for its part did vote for the NCPPR resolution and against the one proposed by Shareholder Commons. It also asked a question regarding the company’s ESG policies—a question that Zuckerberg dodged just as he did everything else that was thrown at him this day.
At the Twitter annual shareholders meeting, the pending acquisition of the company by Elon Musk hung over most discussions like the quintessential “elephant in the room.”
Both CEO Parag Agrawal and Sean Edgett, General Counsel, referred to the situation but clearly stated they would not be making any statements about the “transaction.”
Several presenters of shareholder proposals, however, did make refence and appeals to Elon Musk for support. Most notable was Ethan Peck of the NCPPR, a CFACT ally, who asked Musk, if he was listening, to support their proposal that would have sought an audit analyzing Twitter’s impacts on civil rights and nondiscrimination. This is essentially the same proposal introduced by NCPPR at the Meta meeting. CFACT supported this proposal and voted in favor. Unfortunately, the proposal failed.
CFACT also asked a question in this theme, which was:
“What specific actions is Twitter taking to protect free speech, monitor its activist employees, and encourage more users to return to its platform after having been inappropriately shadow banned and canceled?”
Another left-leaning shareholder asked what Twitter was doing to combat misinformation on climate change on its platform. Of course, by “misinformation,” this shareholder was referring to the facts and real science put out by groups like CFACT and its allies inconvenient to the leftist narrative.
CEO Agrawal said there has been a stark increase in discussions of certain climate keywords on Twitter, such as things related to Net Zero, emissions reduction, and more. He said this was not on accident and attributed it in part to the creation of Twitter’s climate change resources and labels. In essence, Agrawal admitted to at least in part trying to manipulate the conversation on Twitter regarding climate change.
He ended by explaining that ads by organizations that call into question the “established science” on climate change remain prohibited.
In response, CFACT submitted another question, asking:
“Why do you not realize that things like the prohibition on ads that question climate science are fueling people’s frustrations with free speech on twitter? Why not let people make up their own minds?”
Unsurprisingly, CFACT’s question was ignored. Time will tell if Musk’s pending acquisition will make Twitter a more friendly place for all viewpoints.