Facebook Sweeps Votes at Annual Meeting; 700 Million Messenger Users

By David Cohen Comment

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Facebook held its 2015 annual meeting Thursday at the Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara, Calif., and once again, all of the votes went the company’s way.

Shareholders voted to re-elect all eight current members of the company’s board of directors:

Facebook shareholders also voted to ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young as its independent registered public accounting firm for the year ending Dec. 31, and to reapprove the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (code), section 162(m) limits of its 2012 Equity Incentive Plan, which provides for the grant of awards to eligible employees, directors, consultants, independent contractors and advisors in the form of stock options, restricted stock awards, stock bonuses, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock units and performance shares.

The following proposals were rejected by the company’s shareholders:

  • Facebook should initiate and adopt a recapitalization plan that would result in one vote per share for all outstanding stock.
  • Facebook should issue an annual sustainability report describing its short- and long-term responses to environmental, social and governance issues by October.
  • Facebook’s board of directors should prepare a report to shareholders by Oct. 31 of potential and actual human-rights risks of Facebook’s operations.

During his opening remarks, Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook Messenger application topped 700 million monthly active users, after the app reached 500 million last November. He said:

Over the next three to five years, one of the big parts of our story is going to be that Facebook now is no longer just a single app in a way that people communicate, but now, we’ve developed a strategy of trying to build multiple world-class apps and services for all the different ways that people want to communicate. We acquired this company, WhatsApp, where now 800 million people use that to send messages every month across the world, and we’ve built this product, Messenger, which more than 700 million people are using to communicate. We have a groups product that more than 700 million people monthly are using to communicate in small groups and share on topics about their interest.

And we have communities like Instagram, which more than 300 million people are using to share things. So what you’re seeing is that there are all these different kinds of products, and we’re focused on building world-class tools in each of these different categories–whether it’s private communication or sharing with interest based communities or sharing publicly–that expand on this mission to give people more ability to share what’s important to them. So over the next three or five years, a big part of what we do is going to be continuing to grow those communities while also starting to evolve those products to become important drivers of revenue in our overall business. as well. That’ll be an important and fun part of what we get to do over the next five years.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson once again attended Facebook’s annual meeting, where he brought up the lack of minorities on its board of directors and in its corporate suite, saying:

Where are we a year later? … How many new employees has Facebook hired this year? How many and what percentage are the black, Latino, Asian and women? … Donald Graham has left your board–Facebook made commitment to replace him with an African American or a person of color. And you agreed to place a ballot amendment that will imply on exclusive and active search for women and people of color for all future board openings.

We have people who are qualified right now, and we hope the board does not shrink … We must make the board look like America.

Sandberg replied:

We have a unbelievably diverse consumer-based 1.4 billion people using our products around the world, and that means we’re going to build the best product is by reflecting that type of diversity. And we talk about that cognitive diversity, diversity of thoughts, and a best way to get there is diversify of background that means everything from gender to race to also global diversity for us.

We have had slightly more progress in actually recruiting people in this year, but they don’t know the overall numbers as much as we would want, and we know we have a long way to go.

We’re working on the pipeline. We have a Facebook internship program, which was for computer science. We now started a business one, and we started in freshman year because that gives us better than what we have done before that give us a chance to find women and people of diverse backgrounds who might not think they could go to a technology company or might not a part of that. By senior year, people are a little bit on career path, and we went younger to make a bigger investment in starting freshman year, and we went even further that that for our local community with Facebook Academy setting up an internship program for local high-school students so they could get involved.

We know we’re not where we need to be. We know we need to change our numbers so that we can reflect the diversity of population we serve, and we’re committed to all of these programs. A lot of this is new and, doing even more going forward, we’re also grateful for the opportunity to work with you and other grassroots organizations.

Readers: Any surprises?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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