Health Worker Megafund Attacks Facebook Over ‘Misinformation’

The chief executive of a megafund dedicated to health care workers attacked Facebook for allowing “misinformation.” Debby Blakey is chief executive of HESTA, a megafund worth $68 billion. Blakey called for more regulation of the platform to prevent the spread of “misinformation” online. “It’s a threat to public health,” she said. “Lack of action is potentially having a big impact on the health and wellbeing of our members through misinformation around vaccinations.” HESTA has invested over $130 million in Meta, Facebook’s parent company. The megafund filed a shareholder resolution seeking greater disclosure on how the platform manages “misinformation.” “We have had a lot of support, a lot of shareholders view that this is an emerging issue.” HESTA had concerns that the social media giant implemented business practices that “prioritise internal financial return over healthy social and environmental systems” and detail how these risks are being managed. “While the company may profit by inflicting social costs, its diversified shareholders pay the bill,” the resolution stated. “In contrast, our CEO is not diversified. His wealth is concentrated in company shares: unlike most shareholders, his investments do not absorb the social costs the company creates.” Blakey also said Facebook could create economic harm for economies in development. “There was an example out of India where there were false rumours around causes of COVID, for example, that eating chicken and non-vegetarian food caused COVID. It created a huge loss for the poultry industry and loss of livelihood for farmers. The impact in terms of health, in terms of spreading concern and breaking down confidence in society is very important. What I would love to do is have an opportunity to understand how the company is assessing that. It’s why we’re interested in them producing a report.” Dan Gocher, a researcher for the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, said a  lawsuit against Meta for allegedly promoting cryptocurrency scams showed that the company’s practices created financial risks for investors. “You could get a situation where regulators in every country are taking legal action against Facebook. It could come in the form of imposing regulations or fines,” he said. “They operate in every country, imagine how big their compliance regime would have to be.”  

Health Worker Megafund Attacks Facebook Over ‘Misinformation’
The chief executive of a megafund dedicated to health care workers attacked Facebook for allowing “misinformation.” Debby Blakey is chief executive of HESTA, a megafund worth $68 billion. Blakey called for more regulation of the platform to prevent the spread of “misinformation” online. “It’s a threat to public health,” she said. “Lack of action is potentially having a big impact on the health and wellbeing of our members through misinformation around vaccinations.” HESTA has invested over $130 million in Meta, Facebook’s parent company. The megafund filed a shareholder resolution seeking greater disclosure on how the platform manages “misinformation.” “We have had a lot of support, a lot of shareholders view that this is an emerging issue.” HESTA had concerns that the social media giant implemented business practices that “prioritise internal financial return over healthy social and environmental systems” and detail how these risks are being managed. “While the company may profit by inflicting social costs, its diversified shareholders pay the bill,” the resolution stated. “In contrast, our CEO is not diversified. His wealth is concentrated in company shares: unlike most shareholders, his investments do not absorb the social costs the company creates.” Blakey also said Facebook could create economic harm for economies in development. “There was an example out of India where there were false rumours around causes of COVID, for example, that eating chicken and non-vegetarian food caused COVID. It created a huge loss for the poultry industry and loss of livelihood for farmers. The impact in terms of health, in terms of spreading concern and breaking down confidence in society is very important. What I would love to do is have an opportunity to understand how the company is assessing that. It’s why we’re interested in them producing a report.” Dan Gocher, a researcher for the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, said a  lawsuit against Meta for allegedly promoting cryptocurrency scams showed that the company’s practices created financial risks for investors. “You could get a situation where regulators in every country are taking legal action against Facebook. It could come in the form of imposing regulations or fines,” he said. “They operate in every country, imagine how big their compliance regime would have to be.”