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Twitter, Facebook, Google are getting heat from investors over content moderation

Twitter, Facebook, Google are getting heat from investors over content moderation
[Photo: rawpixel]

Today at Twitter’s annual shareholders meeting, activist investors are pushing the company to agree to a proposal requiring it to provide detailed reports about content abuse on the platform.

The proposal, spearheaded by Arjuna Capital, demands that Twitter issue a report that reviews the “the efficacy of its enforcement of its terms of service related to content policies and assessing the risks posed by content management controversies (including election interference, fake news, hate speech and sexual harassment) to the company’s finances, operations and reputation.” In short, these investors want more details about what went wrong content-wise over the last few years that led to the rise of fake news and rampant abuse.

Twitter isn’t the only one facing these demands. Tomorrow, at Facebook’s annual meeting, Arjuna and others will be presenting a similar proposal, asking for better disclosure about content moderation. Alphabet, as well, is being hit with activist investor proposals.

While Arjuna has long been known for pushing this cause, now that these issues have become front-page news others have joined the call. The digital advocacy organization Open MIC is joining with the activist investor group to push for these proposals, along with the New York State Retirement Fund. Similarly, the Park Foundation and Trillium Asset Management are calling for the board to appoint a risk oversight committee that would tie the societal and cultural impact that Facebook is having on the world with potential future financial risks.

Though these proposals have never been approved before, the movement seems to be gaining momentum. We’ll have to wait and see how other investors respond.

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