SumOfUs, an international consumer watchdog with more than 14 million members around the world, is demanding that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg step down amid several now-public controversies regarding the company’s use of user data, and its collection and distribution.
Last week, Facebook stated that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), and its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating the company’s policies on data collection and retention. Both SCL and Cambridge Analytica ran data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, and are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook, though the exact nature of their role is unknown. Over the weekend, Facebook admitted that it had been collecting call and text history from some users for years.
In reaction to the news, and in light of other issues concerning privacy, censorship and data collection at Facebook, Lisa Lindsley, Capital Markets Advisor for SumOfUs, issued the following statement, calling on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to step down as CEO and Board Chair.
“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should step down. For too long, Mark Zuckerberg has kept users in the dark about how it censors speech, allowed companies like SCL and Cambridge Analytica to take advantage of users on its platform, and collected private user call and text data. This is unacceptable.
“Last year, we worked with Facebook shareholders to urge that the company create an independent board chair, warning that the current structure, where Zuckerberg serves as his own boss, was a recipe for disaster.
“Multiple scandals later, it’s clear that enough is enough. Zuckerberg has proven himself unable or unwilling to protect Facebook’s user data or privacy, which is why we firmly believe that shareholders should take action to remove him as CEO and Board Chair.
“It’s time for new leadership at Facebook—one that protects users from unethical data collection, state-sponsored censorship, and privacy violations.”
Last year, SumOfUs asked Facebook to adopt an independent board chair to oversee Zuckerberg and other managers. The SumOfUs shareholder proposal received support of almost half of the shares not controlled by Zuckerberg.
SumOfUs also targeted Mark Zuckerberg with a petition last year over Facebook’s removal of Black Lives Matter-related videos and police violence, and other state-sponsored censorship around the globe. The joint petition gathered nearly 600,000 signatures.