SAN FRANCISCO: A main compartment New York The pension fund, which has invested in both Facebook’s parent company and Twitter, believes it’s time to shake up company boards over their inability to remove violent content from their influential social media services keep away.
The New York State Common Retirement Fund has set out its grievances to the Facebook owner Meta Platforms and Twitter in separate letters dated May 19 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday ahead of the companies’ annual meetings.
The letters from New York comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli blamed Facebook and Twitter for failing to prevent the distribution of video clips and screenshots of the mass killings that took place on May 14 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The killing spree was broadcast live on Twitch, a video game service provided by Twitch, by the self-proclaimed white supremacist accused of killing 10 people Amazonaswho said she blocked the video within two minutes.
But the disturbing scenes from that video have continued to surface on Facebook and Twitter, prompting DiNapoli to take action against the companies for failing to “control the spread of hate speech and content that incites violence.”
In protest, DeNapoli said the pension funds would vote against Meta and Twitter directors seeking re-election at the companies’ respective board meetings Wednesday, and urged other investors to also dissent.
Nine meta-directors, including the company’s CEO and the controlling shareholder Mark Zuckerberg, are standing for re-election. Only two of Twitter’s nine surviving directors are subject to re-election at this year’s annual meeting. The terms of the other seven Twitter directors expire either next year or in 2024. By then, they could be gone by the time Tesla becomes CEO Elon Musk completes a proposed $44 billion purchase of Twitter that is currently pending.
Both Meta and Twitter declined to comment on DeNapoli’s letter, but defended their content controls, including their efforts to prevent the Buffalo shooting images from reappearing.
The New York pension fund’s opposition to the boards of Meta and Twitter is unlikely to result in much change as it is not among the top 15 shareholders of either company, according to FactSet Research.
As of March 31, the pension fund said it owned $1.1 billion in Meta shares, which was about 4.9 million shares at the time. For comparison, Meta’s largest shareholder, The Vanguard Group, currently owns more than 171 million shares, or a 7.4% stake, according to FactSet.
The New York Pension Fund owned $34.6 million in Twitter stock as of March 31, which is about 894,000 shares at the time. The Vanguard Group is also Twitter’s largest shareholder with more than 79 million shares, or a 10.4% stake, according to FactSet.