|Black users andTell one of Facebook’s biggest shareholders — BlackRock — to vote NO on Mark Zuckerberg at the shareholder meeting.TAKE ACTION|
“It is exhausting and it drains you emotionally.” This is a response from Carolyn Wysinger, a Black activist and high school teacher who has had her Facebook posts condemning racism taken down by the company on multiple occasions.1Carolyn’s story is similar to hundreds more we’ve collected from members in the last year. And we’re just scratching the surface.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have repeatedly promised to fix their broken policies that have, all too often, allowed open white supremacy to remain while silencing the Black activists who call out anti-Black violence. This is just the tip of the iceberg; Facebook’s failure to adequately tackle misinformation, discrimination, violent movements, and data breaches are putting Black users at risk.
It will take more than promises to keep us safe. We must address the dangerous concentration of corporate power that allows Facebook to operate on the whims of a single person. On May 30th, we have a huge opportunity to demand change at Facebook. One company is key to shaking up Facebook’s governance: BlackRock. BlackRock is one of the largest outside shareholders of Facebook. If we can get them to join other major investors in voting against Mark Zuckerberg for the Board of Directors, we will trigger a public reckoning of Facebook’s harmful power structure.
Under Facebook’s warped system of governance, Mark Zuckerberg serves as his own boss, appoints his people to the board (whose job is to oversee him), and he has voting rights worth ten times everyone else’s. This kind of power prevents critically needed accountability for all the ways Facebook is hurting users, tramples democracy, and undermines the meaningful and lasting change that Black people so desperately need on the platform.
Time and time again, we’ve seen this concentration of power have harmful consequences for Black users and workers. For example:
- In 2015, it took Color Of Change and multiple civil rights groups to get Facebook to partially address hate, threats, and doxxing – the posting of private identifying information for the purpose of harassment – of Black activists.
- In 2016, Facebook deactivated the livestream of Korryn Gaines — a distraught woman who was filming the police as they confronted her in her apartment. When Facebook cut the livestream, police shot her to death in front of her son.
- In March of this year, the live video of the white supremacist massacre at Christchurch mosques in New Zealand spread across Facebook.
- News reports from this April confirmed that the Facebook-owned messenger, WhatsApp, is enabling the spread of Nazi imagery in Germany — a country where Nazi imagery is outlawed.
- In 2016, journalists found that Facebook was excluding Black and Hispanic users from seeing housing and employment advertisements. It took until 2019 and numerous lawsuits, for Facebook to finally take steps to address the unlawful exclusion of Black people from housing, credit and employment advertisements on the platform.
- Despite the recent appointment of the company’s first Black woman board member — who recently worked at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, raising concerns that she is not independent — Black employees continue to report an anti-Black workplace culture, one in which “there is often more diversity in [slide show] presentations than the teams who present them.”2
Even after regular bad press, lawsuits, giant government fines from around the world, drops in share price, and calls from presidential candidates to break up the company, Facebook still has a power structure that’s bad for Black users, Black workers, and bad for business. Last year, Facebook’s top shareholder, Vanguard, joined over 35% of outside shareholders to vote against Zuckerberg.3 This year, we’re calling on BlackRock to join them.
Until justice is real,