BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In the wake of a widespread advertising boycott of Facebook and a mixed bag of steps across the social media giants to curb hate speech, racism, sexism, and violence, the investment management firm Arjuna Capital today announced that it will pursue 2021 shareholder resolutions at Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet (home of YouTube) seeking an independent board member with human rights and/or civil rights expertise.
The resolutions are sponsored by Arjuna Capital, which anticipates additional support from co-filers. The Facebook resolution received 12% of nonmanagement support when it was considered on May 27th. The Alphabet resolution garnered 25% of nonmanagement support when it was voted on June 3rd. Both resolutions received sufficient support under SEC rules to be voted on for the second year. The Twitter resolution is being offered to shareholders for the first time in 2021.
The shareholder resolutions ask the social media giants to nominate for the next Board election at least one candidate who has “a high level of human and/or civil rights expertise and experience and is widely recognized as such.”
Concerned shareholders not only object to the unconscionable hate speech posted on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (which is owned by Alphabet/Google) promoting racism, discrimination and violence, but also the risk it poses to long-term shareholder wealth due to the increased likelihood of legal, regulatory, advertiser and consumer backlashes. These dangers already have emerged in the form of the summer 2020 boycott of Facebook by advertisers and the more recent Trump Administration/Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Section 230 reprisal aimed in large part at Twitter.
Natasha Lamb, managing partner and portfolio manager, Arjuna Capital, said: “When you concentrate power in the hands of a few people and grant them the enormous reach of the social media companies, you have a prescription for inaction on hate speech. Despite some fitful reform efforts, Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s YouTube have dropped the ball on curbing hate speech, racism, sexism, and disinformation. Why is that? None of these companies has a civil rights and/or human rights expert on their boards. They are literally flying blind with no relevant expertise to guide their management. This poses an unacceptably high risk to not only their users but to the long-term wealth of shareholders, who deserve better.”
Though the three shareholder resolutions contain similar language, each is tailored to the specific social media company it addresses.
ABOUT ARJUNA CAPITAL
Arjuna Capital is a sustainable and impact investment firm that works with high-net-worth individuals, families, institutions, and endowments to invest with a lens toward Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk and opportunity. Natasha Lamb and Arjuna Capital have been recognized for using shareholder resolutions to promote racial and gender pay equity in the tech, banking, and retail sectors. Lamb was named to the “Bloomberg 50” list of influencers who defined global business in 2017. For more information, visit www.Arjuna-Capital.com.