United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry Joins National Effort to Demand Corporate Governance Reforms at Meta
#MakeMarkListen Launches Ahead of Meta’s Annual General Meeting on May 24
UCC Media Justice is joining a national effort to mobilize and rally support for corporate governance reforms at Meta in advance of the company’s annual general meeting next week. The #MakeMarkListen campaign is organizing a collection of activists and advocacy organizations to demand oversight and accountability at Meta on behalf of the general public and shareholders who have been victims of countless harms thanks to Mark Zuckerberg lack of accountability.
As part of the #MakeMarkListen campaign, UCC Media Justice is endorsing the shareholder proposals resolutions that will be considered at Meta’s annual general meeting and encouraging shareholders to vote in support of each. “The United Church of Christ’s longstanding media justice ministry has always focused on the root causes on injustice. The Meta corporation’s governance and ownership structure is exactly one of those root causes. Untold damage to the most vulnerable communities will continue if the most powerful among us face no accountability,” said Cheryl A. Leanza, UCC Media Justice’s policy advisor.
As part of this campaign, UCC Media Justice endorsed two resolutions being considered. The first, proposal #14, directs Meta to independently assess its Audit and Risk Oversight Committee by evaluating its capacity and performance in overseeing company risks to public safety and the public interest. Leanza explained, “Audit committees are an important component of strong corporate governance. But audit committees often don’t have the time, skills, and the support to properly address risk. In 2018 Meta renamed its audit committee the Audit and Risk Oversight Committee, but Meta has not addressed whether the committee is able to fulfill its obligations.”
The second endorsed proposal, proposal #9, directs the Board of Directors to commission a third-party assessment of its metaverse project, focusing on the potential harms to users that may be caused by its use and abuse. “Since the beginning of our advocacy with Facebook, civil rights advocates and faith-based advocates have expressed concern that new products are developed without consideration of their negative impacts on vulnerable communities.” After Facebook introduced Facebook live, it did not take long for some of the most heinous and tragic hate crimes to be broadcast across the platform. The Center for Countering Digital Hate recently released a report showing that metaverse users, including minors, are exposed to abusive behavior every seven minutes, including sexual harassment, grooming minors to repeat racist slurs, and threats of violence. “The metaverse project shows little sign of being subject to serious testing and evaluation,” said Leanza.
The lack of independent governance at Meta has not served shareholders well as evidenced by complaints by whistleblower Frances Haugen to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a fall in future earnings projections, and a single-day valuation loss of more than $230 billion.
UCC Media Justice is proud to stand alongside its partners in the #MakeMarkListen campaign and the many activists, like the Investor Alliance for Human Rights, which have championed accountability at Meta and other social media companies. Leanza explained, “In the same way that public squares in our communities are held accountable to be free of dangerous potholes, toxic waste and gunfire, our digital public squares must be safe for all to participate and speak their truth. These are sound and reasonable proposals which should be adopted.”