Should Mark Zuckerberg resign from Facebook? | The Tylt
Should Mark Zuckerberg resign from Facebook?
As the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to heat up, with Mark Zuckerberg set to testify before Congress to discuss the issue, one shareholder with a $1 billion stake in the company is calling on Zuckerberg to resign as chairman of Facebook.
Scott Stringer [an official who oversees investments for New York City's pension funds] called for an overhaul of Facebook's board after the Cambridge Analytica scandal... New York City's pension funds hold an approximately $1 billion (£710 million) stake in Facebook. Stringer has called for an independent chairman to replace Zuckerberg, plus three new directors with experience in data and ethics to help police Facebook's efforts in privacy.
"It is the eighth-largest company in the world," Stringer said. "They have 2 billion users. They are in uncharted waters, and they have not comported themselves in a way that makes people feel good about Facebook and secure about their own data."
But in an interview with The Atlantic, Zuckerberg said he's not going anywhere.
I asked Zuckerberg: Have you considered resigning at all? “No, I mean—I am—I do work on philanthropy too, separately. But, these issues are very important,” he said. “We’ve also worked on a lot of hard problems over the last 14 years building Facebook. I mean, it started in a dorm room and now it’s this unprecedented community in scale and I’m very confident that we're gonna be able to work through these issues.”
Zuckerberg has taken responsibility for Facebook's inability to stop Russia from meddling in the 2016 election, and has set out a plan moving forward. Treating Zuckerberg as a sacrificial lamb will do nothing to prevent future potential data abuses, and Zuckerberg's willingness to testify before Congress and assume responsibility shows that he is taking criticism seriously.
Zuckerberg also told Vox that his control at Facebook is precisely what makes Facebook better able to serve its community, rather than its shareholders.
But others argue Zuckerberg's excuses aren't good enough. If Facebook wants any chance of recovering from the many scandals it has been involved in over the past few years, it needs new leadership. As both the CEO and chairman of Facebook, Zuckerberg holds an exceptional amount of power over Facebook not typical of large companies. The fact of the matter is Zuckerberg is in no way qualified to deal with a problem of this magnitude. Heather Timmons thinks it's "time to retire the Silicon Valley myth that founders are untouchable."
Facebook’s unique two-tier shareholder structure means that it is impossible for investors to vote Zuckerberg out against his will (he holds less than 20% of the shares, but retains about 60% of the voting authority). But a responsible CEO and founder, one concerned about preventing investor value and his own legacy in Silicon Valley, would be thinking about his exit all the same.
While it is impossible for Zuckerberg to be forced out of Facebook, he should consider stepping back for the good of his company.