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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: Power beyond Corporate Governance

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg did not attend a committee hearing at Canada’s Parliament on May 28, 2019 in spite of having received summons from Bob Zimmer MP, the committee’s chair. Instead, Facebook sent its director of public policy and its head of public policy for Facebook Canada. “Shame on Mark Zuckerberg and shame on Sheryl Sandberg for not showing up today,” Zimmer said toward the end of the hearing.[1] For sending two representatives rather than themselves, Zuckerberg and Sandberg faced the possibility of being held in contempt. They had testified before the U.S. Congress, so by sending two representatives the two leaders of Facebook may have acted rather dismissively concerning Canada’s federal legislature. At the time, Zuckerberg had virtually unchecked power at Facebook, including over the other stockholders. From his perch, the power may have been going to his head; even after two years of user-privacy scandals, Facebook’s CEO and Chairman of the Board may have determined that summons from legislatures where the company was operating were beneath him. Such a mentality is dangerous for a person with autocratic control of such a large company.

1. Donie O’Sullivan and Paula Newton, “Zuckerberg and Sandberg Ignore Canadian Subpoena, Face Possible Contempt Vote,” CNN.com, May 28, 2019.