International

Investors intensify focus on Facebook in light of privacy and ethical concerns

November 19, 2021

Facebook_iStock-1350450876 

Social media permeates our lives, but privacy and ethical concerns surround these influential platforms. Information released by a whistleblower at social media giant Facebook is raising new concerns for investors including Mercy Investment Services.

Recently, a product manager at Facebook – which has more than 2 billion monthly users – testified to Congress, detailing alarming issues the social media giant perpetuated. Shared documents indicate Facebook has done nothing to stop issues such as exacerbating body-image issues among teenage girls; helping enable human trafficking in the United Arab Emirates; spreading rampant vaccine misinformation and hate speech; and permitting false narratives that incited the January 6 U.S. Capitol riots and ethnic violence in Ethiopia. 

Mercy Investment Services and other investors have been addressing several issues with Facebook – which is now rebranding as Meta – including:

  • child sexual abuse material
  • algorithmic bias
  • corporate governance
  • gender and racial equity.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced it would stop using facial recognition for photo-tagging. Although this is a major step to rein in a technology plagued with bias and privacy problems, it doesn’t apply to its metaverse products, such as virtual reality gaming, which will rely heavily on users’ biometric data. 

These increasingly concerning practices from Facebook are intensifying investors’ focus on the company. In our continued engagements, Mercy Investment Services will address as many of these issues as possible to hold Facebook accountable.