- Meta Platforms Inc. is expected to face a shareholder mandate.
- The SEC rejected Meta’s request to stifle a proposal from Arjuna Capital LLC.
- Arjuna Capital LLC feels Meta is not the right company to build the metaverse.
Meta Platforms Inc. is expected to face a shareholder mandate on whether its planned metaverse virtual world is good for society.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected a request by Meta to stifle a proposal from Arjuna Capital LLC. This proposal asked for a third-party evaluation of the potential psychological, civil, and human rights harms of the metaverse. Arjuna Capital is an investment management firm. Meanwhile, earlier in February, Arjuna Capital had filed this shareholder proposal with the SEC.
Meta did not deny the potential harms that the metaverse could bring. But, it argued to the SEC that the proposal could be excluded under current regulations because it concerns matters related to the firm’s “ordinary business operations.” However, the SEC ruled that the proposal “transcends ordinary business matters.”
The metaverse has been a hot topic of discussion for the past few years with people debating its benefits and negative effects. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the metaverse may have considerable lasting and harmful impacts on people.
Writer Naomi Nix has rightfully said in a Bloomberg article: “Everything uncomfortable and potentially harmful that happens on the internet can feel so much more powerful in virtual reality.”
“We’re not saying that nobody should be developing a metaverse,” Natasha Lamb, a managing partner at Arjuna Capital, said.
What we’re saying is: is Meta the right company to do this when they are so poorly governed and clearly can’t handle what they have in front of them already? Do they have the social license to do this or do they not?
It is important to consider that Facebook’s social conscience has been questionable over the years. It is still recovering from the debacle following the leak of internal documents that whistleblower Frances Haugen shared in 2021. The leaked documents suggested that Facebook prioritized profit over content moderation.
Moreover, the US government and enforcement agencies have spent many years trying to hold Facebook accountable. But so far, no action has been taken.
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