Meta (FACEBOOK, INC.) | Assessing Allegations of Biased Operations in India at Meta (FACEBOOK, INC.)

AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
Resolution details
Company ticker
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Conduct due diligence, audit or risk/impact assessment
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Digital rights
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Company commission a nonpartisan assessment of allegations of political entanglement and content management biases in its operations in India, focusing on how the platform has been utilized to foment ethnic and religious conflict and hatred, and disclose results in a report to investors, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary and privileged information. Among other things, the assessment can evaluate:
⁃ Evidence of political biases in Company activities, and any steps to ensure it is non partisan;
⁃ Whether content management algorithms and personnel in India are at scale and  multilingual capacity necessary to curtail mass dissemination of hate speech and  disinformation;
⁃ The relevance of any evidence germane to biases, exposures, and impact disclosed in the previously commissioned India HRIA, as investors have been unable to read the full recommendations.
Whereas clause
WHEREAS: Meta's largest user base is in India, with "over half a billion Indians using Meta services.” Facebook is apparently a critical catalyst of religious violence in India from1 disseminating anti-Muslim hate speech, and failing to flag posts and speakers who pose risks in this regard.
For instance, in February 2020, Muslim-majority neighborhoods of north-east Delhi were stormed by a mob, destroying mosques, shops, homes and cars, and killing 53 people. In months  preceding the massacre, the head of a powerful North Indian temple videoed a speech onto Facebook, declaring "I want to eliminate Muslims and Islam from the face of the Earth.” It has been viewed well over 40 million times.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook's top policy official in India, Ankhi Das, pushed back against employees wanting to label BJP politician T. Raja Singh "dangerous” and to ban him from the platform after he used Facebook to call Muslims traitors, threaten to raze mosques, and call for Muslim immigrants to be shot. Das argued that punishing Singh would hurt  Facebook's business in India.2
Facebook India's top remaining employee has ties to the BJP. Shivnath Thukral, who now heads public policy across all India platforms after resignations of other top personnel, assisted in BJP's 2014 election campaign. Al Jazeera reported that Facebook provided preferential rates for political advertisements of the BJP, and permitted surrogate advertising supporting BJP,  suggesting partisan bias.
Further, content moderation in India is undercut by poor capacity of Meta!s "misinformation classifiers” (algorithms) and its human moderators to recognize many of India's 22 officially recognized languages.3
In 2019, Meta commissioned law firm Foley Hoag for a Human Rights Impact Assessment  (HRIA) of its India operations. The four page summary released by Meta provides scant transparency and explicitly acknowledged the assessment "did not assess or reach conclusions” about whether India operations had bias in content moderation.4
The proponent believes Meta's lack of transparency concerning India presents a clear and present danger to the Company's reputation, operations and investors.
2  zuckerberg-11597423346
4 Meta Human Rights Report, July 2022, p. 59  

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
EFG Asset Management For A vote FOR this proposal is warranted as shareholders would benefit from additional disclosure regarding
potential political entanglement and how the Company is managing the associated risks.

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