Facing Facebook’s Responsibility
When Facebook went public in May 2012, its capacity for effective corporate governance was already in doubt. Now it needs to take responsibility for its behavior in a way befitting its influence, by changing its governance and operational behavior.
LONDON – When Facebook went public in May 2012, its capacity for effective corporate governance was already in doubt. Fast-forward six years, and Facebook has accumulated massive power, access, and influence – and, in many ways, proved the doubters right.
The doubters were no small minority. On the contrary, it was the general consensus among investors and advisers that Facebook was too large, with too much potential for growth and not nearly enough capacity to protect adequately the personal information of the platform’s millions of users.
As I put it at the time, “Facebook swims against the tide of a global movement toward transparency, engagement, and checks and balances. It feels as if we’ve all stepped into a time machine and none of the past couple of years of governance lessons – including the failures of boards in the banking-sector crisis – ever happened.”