A major Facebook shareholder is calling for the social media giant to restructure the way Facbook runs its business and treats the shareholders; the latest in a series of public backlash Facebook has been facing.
California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s (CalSTRS) Aeisha Mastagni, a portfolio manager at CalSTRS, published an opinion piece in the Financial Times Thursday, criticizing Facebook’s “dual-class” structure — wherein class A shareholders get a one vote per one share while class B shareholders have 10 votes per share.
“Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others”, Mastagni wrote in her piece. She pointed out that class A shareholders A shareholders get a one vote per one share while class A shareholders get one vote per share, while class B shareholders have 10 votes per share. Mark Zuckerberg owns a lot of class B stock, giving him the controlling stake of 60% of the voting power.
Her portfolio Calstrs endorses the principle of “one share, one vote” — that every share of a public company’s common stock should have equal voting rights.
She wrote in the op-ed: “It has been six years since Facebook went public. For Calstrs, it has grown from a small private equity investment to a top 10 portfolio company, The dream that began in a dorm room is now one the largest companies by market capitalization and one of America’s most influential entities. Facebook has grown at an unbelievable pace. The capital structure has changed, and it is time for its governance to catch up”.
“Why does Mr Zuckerberg need the entrenchment factor of a dual-class structure? Is it because he does not want governance to evolve with the rest of his company? If so, this American dream is now akin to a dictatorship”, she continued in the op-ed.
This latest controversy comes as a litany of complaints and criticism against the social media giant have flooded the news. Facebook’s role in collecting users’ data for Cambridge Analytica without their consent, finally caught the eye of the main stream media and congress, after conservative writers and media figures have been complaining about actual censorship for the past year.
David Ben Hooren, the publisher of the Jewish Voice recently said that the newspaper’s numbers in terms of “likes” and viewer participation has been significantly and purposely altered for the worse.
In order to illustrate his point, Ben Hooren said, “Throughout the months of February, March and April of this year, our “like” clicks went down by 250. We have lost 100 likes and we have seen no gain. It is very clear to me that our page is being manipulated and targeted by those at Facebook who do not want us to succeed as a legitimate news portal.”
The incident where Facebook allegedly blocked African American Trump supporters, Diamond & Silk’s content from millions of followers “News feeds” actually became part of the hearings when Zuckerberg went before congress to discuss Cambridge Analytica.
The social media giant is under the microscope at this point. From congress, to content providers and now shareholders, Facebook is drawing intense scrutiny. Many feel, this is long overdue.
By Jared Evan