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Funds Reconsider Facebook Holdings

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Unsatisfied with Facebook’s moves to step up privacy on its platform, multiple socially-conscious investment firms are unloading or reconsidering holdings in the social media company.

In a letter to Facebook, for example, Domini Funds detailed its plan to sell shares of the company’s stock, Reuters reported. On May 8, Adam Kanzer, vice president of Domini Funds wrote, “Facebook’s problems, we believe, are founded on a lack of sufficient attention to consumer privacy and data security, compounded by inadequate governance.”

In April, Calvert Research and Management sold its Facebook stock. “The company clearly violated users’ fundamental right to privacy,” one of its analysts said, which went against the firm’s investment principles.

In addition, Pax World Funds President Joe Keefe said that Facebooks’ recent developments “may very well affect the company’s scores and its eligibility for continued inclusion” in portfolios such as Pax ESG Beta Dividend Fund.

Since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified on Capitol Hill last month, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company has stepped up its focus on user privacy. The move also comes amid the revelation that the controversial research firm may have accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users.

On Tuesday (May 15), Facebook announced that it had suspended 200 apps as part of its ongoing investigation into how third parties handle user data. The company said it has “large teams” of experts looking into those apps.

Beyond the suspensions, the company said that it plans to notify users if an app misused their data via a website. The page will “show people if they or their friends installed an app that misused data before 2015 — just as we did for Cambridge Analytica,” Facebook said.

Also in April, Facebook provided the world with more detail on how and why it chooses to delete content from its network through a “community standards” guidebook that it published on its website. The book provides detail on how the network’s 7,500 moderators decide what text, pictures and video are removed.

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