WASHINGTON, D.C. – Physician members of the Committee to Protect Health Care today announced their support for a national effort demanding corporate governance reforms at Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Ahead of the company’s annual general meeting on May 25th, the Committee is urging Meta shareholders to hold CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable for allowing disinformation to threaten the public health and harmful algorithms to impact the mental health of kids and teenagers.
“For years, doctors have witnessed the increasingly dangerous impact on our patients’ health of mis- and disinformation spread on Facebook, while the platform and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have done absolutely nothing,” said Dr. Rob Davidson, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Health Care and an emergency physician in west Michigan. “During the pandemic, doctors have been forced to grapple with the impacts of this unfettered disinformation spread each and every day, arguing with patients over the need to get vaccinated and wear a mask — not take ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine — while we put our health and that of our families on the line. Mr. Zuckerberg’s refusal to remediate this wrong is a threat to the health of individuals and entire communities, and Meta’s shareholders have an obligation to reform the company to protect health and save lives.”
Specifically, the Committee is endorsing a resolution being considered at the annual general meeting, Proposal #14, which would request that Meta’s Board commission an independent assessment of the Audit and Risk Oversight Committee’s capacities and performance in overseeing company risks to public safety and the public interest and in supporting strategic risk oversight on these issues by the full board.
“Psychiatrists and other health professionals have been sounding the alarm on the harm Facebook and Instagram are causing young people for years, but our pleas for action have been ignored ,” said Dr. Kali Cyrus, a psychiatrist in Washington, D.C., and Board Member for the Committee to Protect Health Care. “We’re gravely concerned about how Meta’s algorithms drive adolescents toward harmful content, leading them to use harmful substances, develop body image issues and/or depression, turn to self-injury, and face other mental health issues. As suicide, depression, and anxiety rates among children and teenagers continue to rise at troubling rates, it’s critical that Meta’s leaders be held accountable and make the changes needed to protect our young vulnerable people.”
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org