Facebook (FB) shareholders will vote on several key topics at the company's June 1 annual meeting in Redwood City, Calif., including whether to nominate an independent chair to the board of directors to replace current chair Mark Zuckerberg, who also serves as CEO, according to a recent SEC filing.
Facebook's board has recommended that shareholders vote against all three proposals. Here are the details about each proposal as well as Facebook's argument against each of the requests brought by shareholders.
1. Spreading of fake news
Shareholders are proposing that Facebook issue a report that reviews the impact of the spread of "fake news" on its website. This proposal comes after the social media website has faced sharp criticism for not doing enough to stop the flow of fake news on its platform during the past U.S. presidential election.
According to Buzzfeed, false headlines were shared more often than the 20 best-performing mainstream news stories during the last three months of the election process. In addition, Pew Research found that about half of both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. think the government has a "great deal of responsibility" in helping to stem the spread of fake news.
Since the election, Facebook said it is working on different strategies to stop the spreading of fake news on its website, such as making it easier for users to report fake articles or working with third-party fact-checking organizations. In addition, the company is one of the founding funders of the News Integrity Initiative, a project from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism meant to help increase news literacy.
But the shareholders said the fake news problem is a complex one and that more needs to be done.
Facebook's opposing statement: Facebook's board of directors is recommending that shareholders vote against this proposal, claiming that the social media network prides itself on being an open platform. In addition, the company pointed out that it prohibits spammers and removes hate speech from its platform. Facebook also noted that it has been working to address the fake news issue by making it easier for users to report false stories and by using third-party fact checking organizations.
2. Gender pay equity
Shareholders are requesting that Facebook release a report by December 2017 on the company's policies and goals to reduce the gender pay gap, or the difference between how much men vs. women earn at the company.