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Inflatable angry emoji looms over Facebook annual meeting as users vent frustrations

Updated : 2019-05-31 11:11:01

 Protesters carrying an inflatable angry emoji greeted Facebook Inc shareholders as they gathered for the company's annual meeting on Thursday, the latest sign of its struggle to shake off privacy scandals and rein in fake news and hate speech. The social media giant again faced demands for reform at Thursday's meeting, including shareholder proposals that called for revamping the company's voting structure and ousting chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg as chairman. The measures had little chance of succeeding, as a dual-class share structure gives Zuckerberg and other insiders control of about 58 percent of the votes. Many investors have shrugged off the scandals swirling around the company, as it has beaten Wall Street's estimates for revenue growth and continues to add users globally. Zuckerberg declined to answer a shareholder question on why he would not agree to create an independent board chair, instead of restating his view that regulators should set the rules for companies around privacy and content. But even though the votes are largely symbolic, they are still seen as a useful barometer of investor sentiment about how well the social media icon is coping with unprecedented challenges to its hands-off approach to content. Last year, about 83 percent of shares held by outside investors voted for a proposal that would have the company move to a structure of one vote per share and do away with the supermajority shares. A coalition of activist groups has urged big investors to reject Zuckerberg's nomination to the board this year, saying Facebook has failed to protect users, especially racial and religious minorities. Outside the hotel, a small group of protesters filmed themselves hoisting the 8-foot (2.5-meter) red emoji balloon, saying the company failed to protect its users, particularly minorities, from hate speech and other abuses.

A passerby takes a photograph of an inflatable angry emoji during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A passerby takes a photograph of an inflatable angry emoji during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Activist Bassad Pesci stands outside Hotel Nia during a protest against social media censorship outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Activist Bassad Pesci stands outside Hotel Nia during a protest against social media censorship outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Demonstrators carry an inflatable angry emoji during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Demonstrators carry an inflatable angry emoji during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Arielle Cohen, a 30-year-old activist from Pittsburgh, PA., center, holds a sign during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Arielle Cohen, a 30-year-old activist from Pittsburgh, PA., center, holds a sign during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Leila Deen, program director at SumOfUs, holds a sign during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Leila Deen, program director at SumOfUs, holds a sign during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
An inflated angry emoji is seen during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
An inflated angry emoji is seen during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Arielle Cohen, a 30-year-old activist from Pittsburgh, PA., carries a helium tank while inflating a giant angry emoji (not pictured) during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Arielle Cohen, a 30-year-old activist from Pittsburgh, PA., carries a helium tank while inflating a giant angry emoji (not pictured) during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A demonstrator holds a sign next to a giant inflatable angry emoji during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A demonstrator holds a sign next to a giant inflatable angry emoji during a protest outside the Facebook 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Menlo Park, California, US, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
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