Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, Facebook Chairman, and controlling shareholder, has always made a point of ensuring that his power over Facebook is effectively unassailable, an approach that many have felt unfair at best, and totalitarian at worst.
Now, in the wake of consecutive years of scandals involving the social media giant on everything from their content policies to their use of user data, and with Facebook undergoing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and facing a massive fine, he is finding his supreme authority under threat.
In addition to the R43 Billion fine though, the FTC is apparently discussing a number of additional safeguards which Facebook may have to comply with.
These include the appointment of a FTC-approved privacy official to monitor Facebook’s compliance with the settlement, and independent privacy oversight committee, and appointing Zuckerberg or another Facebook executive as a compliance officer, making them personally accountable for any future data breaches.
These measures could be the biggest erosion of Zuckerberg’s power over Facebook in the history of the company.
Investors planned to make another attempt to replace Zuckerberg as chairman in their annual meeting held at the end of May, as well as change teh share structure of the firm in order to dilute his voting power.
However, as usual, the effort was doomed to failure, and all proposals were voted down. Hardly surprising since Zuckerberg holds a controlling share of votes, and as such, the only way for such proposals to come about would be for Zuckerberg to voluntarily give up that power himself, something that is unlikely to happen in the near future.
Despite this, it’s possible that the requirements being proposed by the Federal Trade Commission will end up providing some of teh independent oversight the other shareholders want, but which Zuckerberg has always been strictly opposed to.