‘What’s important is that the company’s leaders and its investors heard loud and clear from conservatives who routinely experience bias on Facebook…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Against the wishes of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, shareholders of the social media platform Facebook were asked to consider a proposal which would encourage “political diversity” on its board of directors.
The outcome of that proposal? Denied.
The FEP is the activist arm of the National Center for Public Policy Research and is a voice for shareholders with conservative political views.
David Almasi, NCPPR’s vice president, represented the FEP at the meeting in Menlo Park, California. There, he stated: “Facebook has already colluded with the left to develop a ‘diverse slate approach’ that promotes board candidates based on their race and gender. Facebook should actually value potential board members because of how they think rather than how they look.”
“Considering the liberal groupthink that dominates Silicon Valley, this is a necessary requirement for sound corporate governance,” Almasi said.
To that end, FEP offered a “True Diversity Board Policy” that would put ideological diversity as a criterion for the board of directors.
Almasi made the case for the proposal by saying: “Whether you’re willing to admit there’s a bias at Facebook is beyond the point right now. In business, perception is often reality. Our proposal provides a tangible way for the company to combat its bias … the company would be much less likely to engage in bias against conservatives if it had a few right-leaning folks in positions of power.”
Not surprisingly, shareholders rejected this “true diversity” policy, on the grounds that it was unnecessary and not beneficial to stockholders.
But Almasi asserted that FEP had won a moral victory—and needled Facebook’s powerful CEO while doing so.
“Our proposal failed to get a majority vote, but that’s no surprise considering that Mark Zuckerberg owns more than half of the company’s voting stock all by himself,” he said. “What’s important is that the company’s leaders and its investors heard loud and clear from conservatives who routinely experience bias on Facebook.”
Almasi said that by fighting a “common sense proposal,” Facebook’s leaders were making it clear they were unwilling to confront anti-conservative bias on its platform.
Some of that anti-conservative bias seems to have come at the NCPPR’s expense. In his statement before Facebook investors, Almasi noted that the center had experienced declining Facebook traffic (presumably, steeper than the usual declines seen on the declining platform).
In response, Facebook commissioned an investigator from a law firm to understand the drop in traffic. His conclusion was that the center’s position on climate change was the culprit, “likely affecting [the Center’s] ability to engage with users on a wide range of topics.”
Facebook’s decision not to put conservatives on the board certainly seems to support the comments made by a former senior engineer with Facebook, whom Almasi cited in his remarks. Engineer Brian Amerige had called the company a “political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research describes itself as a “non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.” You can hear Almasi’s entire statement to Facebook investors here.