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After Buffalo, Media and Tech Can’t Look Away Any Longer

This tragedy should be a catalyst to a fundamental reckoning.
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NEW YORK — Over the next two weeks, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Facebook and Twitter shareholders will meet to vote on a range of critical issues. More than any other time in the past decade, activist shareholders have put forth proposals to make these tech giants more accountable to the public. These measures include expanding whistleblower protections at Alphabet, stopping the spread of hate and disinformation at Facebook, and calling for analysis of possible civil- and human-rights violations caused by Amazon’s facial-recognition and surveillance technologies.

Join us on Mon., May 24, for a discussion with the shareholder advocates and activists driving these efforts. The conversation will focus on corporate best practices on racial justice, human rights and privacy, among other issues. Speakers will explain why they support these proposals and will discuss their plans for building momentum for shareholder activism.

Free Press and Open MIC are co-hosting this press briefing.

WHAT: “Shareholders and Activists Unite to Fix Big Tech: A Press Briefing”
WHEN: Mon., May 24, at 12 p.m ET
WHO: Jessica González of Free Press (moderator), Maurice BP-Weeks of the Action Center on Race and the Economy, Josh Brockwell of Azzad Asset Management, Adrian Reyna Chavoya of the Disinfo Defense League, Mary Beth Gallagher of Investor Advocates for Social Justice, Jonas Kron of Trillium Asset Management, Natasha Lamb of Arjuna Capital, Ifeoma Ozoma of Earthseed, and Raksha Muthukumar of the Alphabet Workers Union.   

Earlier this week, Free Press launched a campaign pressuring asset managers at BlackRock, Fidelity, State Street, T. Rowe Price and Vanguard to support a number of reform measures at Facebook, including a challenge to the voting structure that gives founder Mark Zuckerberg a deciding vote over all decisions. Thousands have already contacted these financial firms — which collectively own about 22 percent of Facebook shares — to urge them to back this and other crucial reforms.

“Every week, Facebook is buffeted by a new scandal, with little accountability to the public or its shareholders,” said Free Press Senior Campaign Director Candace Clement. “The anger over company inaction has spilled over from the public and Congress to include increasing numbers of investors, who are now pressuring Zuckerberg to make significant reforms. These shareholders form a powerful new voting bloc determined to repair the top-down mismanagement that’s long plagued the company and harmed millions of people.”

“Digital technologies offer the world great promise, and investors welcome that — but not at the expense of violating the civil and human rights of people and communities all around the world,” said Michael Connor, executive director of Open MIC, which works with shareholders to foster corporate accountability in the tech sector. “It’s time for these companies to stop offering excuses for their risky behavior and to start acting like the responsible corporate citizens that they claim to be.”

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