Facebook investors hammer CEO Zuckerberg over scandals

By Susan McFarland  |  June 1, 2018 at 1:00 PM
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June 1 (UPI) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced harsh scrutiny during a shareholder meeting as he took questions from investors about recent privacy scandals.

Investors told the CEO Thursday he is running the company like a "dictatorship," saying "disclosures have been "inadequate" and the scandals are "not good for the company's bottom line," CNET reported.

In a departure from gatherings that are usually calm and procedural, Thursday's meeting felt like a revolt to some in the room, as investors hammered Zuckerberg about his leadership style and his handling of the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal, NBC News reported.

"If privacy is a human right -- as stated by Microsoft's CEO -- then we contend that Facebook's poor stewardship of user data is tantamount to a human rights violation," said Christine Jantz, chief investment officer at Facebook investor Northstar Asset Management.

One investor told Zuckerberg, "Emulate George Washington, not Vladimir Putin."

Despite the lashing, Zuckerberg was re-elected to the company's board. Another measure that would have stripped Zuckerberg of his special voting rights did not pass.

Zuckerberg responded to shareholders' concerns using many of the same talking points he used on Capitol Hill in April as he answered questions about the Cambridge Analytica data breach that resulted in as many as 87 million people unwittingly disclosing their personal information.

As Facebook struggles with privacy issues, the company is losing ground with younger demographics.

A new poll released Thursday shows Facebook is no longer the dominant player on the social media scene among American teenagers -- with Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat gaining ground. Facebook owns Instagram.

Of 743 teens who participated in the poll, 85 percent said they use YouTube, 72 percent Instagram and 69 percent Snapchat. Facebook was fourth with 51 percent.

On Friday, Facebook announced changes to the way users can receive news. According to a company statement, Facebook is removing its "trending" section from the product next week.

Facebook is "exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on Facebook is from trustworthy and quality sources," according to the statement.

The platform is testing a "breaking news" label with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Britain, India and Australia.

It is also testing a section called "Today In" to connect people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city. Also in the works: a dedicated section on Facebook Watch where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly exclusives.

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