NEI met with Meta Platforms a few times in Q3 2022 to hear how they are managing human rights risks in their business model.
Engagement objective: Maintain and deepen relationship with Meta over human rights risks and other ESG factors.
Facebook owner Meta Platforms* is making an effort to address Human rights risks in its business model and demonstrating receptiveness to investor feedback. We had three meetings with them in Q3, showing they are listening to our concerns (and the concerns of many other investors).
We co-filed a shareholder resolution that was voted on earlier this year asking Meta to conduct a Human rights impact assessment in relation to its targeted advertising strategy. The resolution did not pass, but received strong support considering the concentration of share ownership with insiders. We had a follow-up meeting with the company to hear their position and understand if they had any action planned in response to the vote results. At their request, we also provided feedback on their first Human rights report. We shared our view that it’s a strong start for the company and for the information and communication technology sector at large, but gaps remain. One area of weakness was the subject of targeted advertising, and how the company is working to prevent harm to users from their advertising (and the algorithms enabling these ads).
Following that meeting, Meta invited us (and other investors) to participate in a broader meeting on climate, diversity, and Human rights. We were encouraged by the speakers’ openness to our questions, which were allowed to come through unfiltered and unmoderated in a genuine two-way dialogue.
We also joined a meeting led by other investors with the lead independent director of the board. This was in connection to a letter we supported, urging Meta to separate the CEO and board chair roles and to nominate three new independent directors, and to reconsider its dual-class share structure. The investor group was organized by the Illinois Treasurer and the Shareholder Association for Research & Education.
Next steps: With all the moving parts at Meta, we are encouraged by what seems to be a change in attitude toward dialogue, and we look forward to continuing the conversation.
*Shares of Meta Platforms were held as of the publication date of this article; holdings are subject to change without notice.