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Even Facebook shareholders are sick of Mark Zuckerberg’s excuses

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Facebook's shareholders are not happy with Zuck.
Facebook’s shareholders are not happy with Zuck.

Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Facebook’s own shareholders are losing patience for Mark Zuckerberg’s excuses. 

At the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday, attendees made it abundantly clear that they’re fed up with Facebook and the seemingly endless barrage of scandals.

One shareholder, voicing support for a proposal to limit Mark Zuckerberg’s control, urged the CEO to “emulate George Washington, not Vladimir Putin.” Another shareholder admonished the company for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying the company’s handling of users’ personal data was “tantamount to a human rights violation.”

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

Others questioned why Facebook seems to be unable to get out in front of all the negative news. “Why is the list of controversies confronting Facebook so long and so serious,” asked Will Lana from Trillium Asset Management.

But fiery though it was, the criticism didn’t amount to much in the end. Facebook’s board voted down all of the proposals urging the company to be more transparent, increase oversight, and increase shareholder control. 

Zuckerberg tried to put his usual spin on things, reiterating some of his favorite recent talking points. “We face a number of important issues, we’re going to make sure we take a broader view of our responsibility,” he said. 

Still, meeting attendees were clearly frustrated with the message and spent much of the rest of the meeting hammering Zuckerberg and other execs on everything from privacy scandals, to diversity issues, to what it’s doing to address lack of housing near its headquarters.

It was an unusually heated meeting as shareholders again and again brought up all of the controversies that have ensnared the social network over the last year. 

“You’re not actually talking to your investors about these issues … engage with us on these issues, we’re on the same team,” urged one shareholder who didn’t identify herself, to a round of applause.

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