Shareholders -- including controlling investor and founder Mark Zuckerberg -- on Thursday voted down a number of investor proposals at Facebook (FB) including activist investor measure urging the social media giant to produce a report reviewing the public policy and business issues it faces around the phenomenon of "fake news."
"Research has shown that fake news has affected elections in the U.K., France and the U.S.," said Natasha Lamb, a managing partner at Arjuna Capital, the fund issuing the proposal, at the company's annual meeting. "Fake news is not about spin or confirmation bias, it's about fabrication and when fabrication is disseminated so easily at scale, it represents a threat to our democracy."
Lamb said she wants Facebook to explain how many ads or content they are blocking, how much staff they have evaluating "fabricated content claims" and how much are they outsourcing to third parties such as Politifact or ABC.
The Arjuna measure, which was introduced with another fund, comes as Facebook has come under fire following the 2016 U.S. presidential and congressional elections over fake news stories trending on the social media platform. One high-profile example involved the fake news phenomenon that became known as "Pizzagate," a false conspiracy that trended on social media sites claiming that a Washington D.C. area pizzeria hid a child sex ring in its basement set up by Hillary Clinton and her former campaign chairman, John Podesta.
The proposal is nonbinding, so Facebook wouldn't have had to respond even if the shareholder vote was substantial. The specific tally won't be released until Friday or early next week.