Boston, MA // March 19, 2018 – Trillium Asset Management is alarmed by recent revelations that a data firm gained access to personal information of over 50 million Facebook users and that this data may have been used to shape political advertising and influence voters in the U.S. This controversy has justifiably sparked extensive criticism and concern, including from two U.S. Senators who wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman. They wrote: “to express serious concern regarding recent reports that data from millions of Americans was misused in order to influence voters”.
Unfortunately, we do not see this as a standalone event. Rather, this seems to be the latest in a string of controversies, which is a strong indication that Facebook’s risk management programs and oversight structures may be inadequate.
It is precisely because of events like this that we filed a shareholder resolution asking the Company to establish a Risk Oversight Committee at the Board level. Establishing such a committee would build in governance systems and processes that provide the most robust and effective “big picture” risk oversight – a level of oversight commensurate with the novelty and importance of its impact. As a result, Trillium believes it is in the best interests of the Company and shareholders to institutionalize a system to manage and monitor these risks to avoid the constant reactive whack-a-mole approach we’ve seen.
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