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Investors Raise Concerns to Meta Regarding Child Safety on Social Media Platforms

Meta Shareholders Represented by Proxy Impact—Including Lead Filer Lisette Cooper, PhD, Vice Chair of Fiduciary Trust International—Seek to Protect Children and the Long-Term Financial Performance of Meta

Fiduciary Trust International, a global wealth manager and wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Templeton, announces that Meta shareholder Lisette Cooper, PhD, vice chair, has filed a resolution for shareholders to vote upon at Meta’s annual meeting in Menlo Park, CA on May 29, 2024.

The proposal, filed on behalf of Dr. Cooper and other Meta shareholders by Proxy Impact, calls on Meta’s Board of Directors to, within one year, adopt targets for reducing dangers and threats to children on its global social media platforms, as well as quantitative metrics for assessing the company’s improvement in this area. The resolution also calls for Meta’s Board of Directors to ensure these targets and performance metrics are published in an annual report, enabling investors and stakeholders to judge how effective Meta’s tools, policies, and actions for protecting children have been.

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis, the two largest proxy advisory services, both recommend voting for the resolution.

“Meta is the largest social media company in the world, with billions of users, but its platforms—including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp—have been shown to pose a variety of physical and psychological risks to children and teens,” said Lisette Cooper, PhD, vice chair of Fiduciary Trust International. “As a parent, and an investor, with a deep personal connection to this issue, I support this shareholder resolution as a meaningful step to encourage Meta’s leadership to do more to protect the young people who use its platforms—which we believe will also protect the long-term security of shareholders’ investments.”

Meta’s social media platforms have been linked to many dangers to the physical and mental wellbeing of children and teenagers. These range from sextortion, grooming, and human trafficking to cyberbullying, harassment, exposure to sexual or violent content, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and self-image distortion.

  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that its CyberTipline received nearly 36 million reports of online exploitation of children in 2023, including child sexual abuse material, child sex trafficking, and online enticement—and almost 31 million of them came from Meta platforms.
  • A Wall Street Journal investigation published in June 2023 found that Meta’s algorithms for Instagram guide pedophiles to sellers of child sexual abuse materials, essentially “connecting a vast pedophile network.”
  • Meta has also begun end-to-end encryption of Facebook Messenger, despite warnings from law enforcement and child safety organizations that doing so will hide millions of reports of child sexual abuse materials—masking the actions of predators, and making children more vulnerable.
  • In the wake of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on social media and youth mental health, 42 U.S. state attorneys general have filed lawsuits against Meta, claiming Facebook and Instagram algorithms are designed to intentionally make the platforms addictive, and that they harm young people’s mental health.
  • In September 2022, Meta was fined €405 million, or just over $400 million, by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission for not safeguarding children’s information on Instagram.

“The Internet is like the Wild West for children and teens. Meta and other social media companies need to do more to prevent their technology from being weaponized against their youngest users,” said Michael Passoff, chief executive officer of Proxy Impact. “The more tech companies try to evade responsibility for the harm caused by algorithms designed to maximize user engagement, the more the world is fighting back. Shareholders in Meta and other social media companies can make an enormous difference by raising their voices against business practices that treat children as collateral damage.”

If Meta does not sufficiently address child safety issues, it faces potential financial, regulatory, and legal penalties under new legislation in the U.S., U.K., and European Union.

  • The E.U.’s Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, which went into effect in February 2024, will require companies like Meta to identify, report, and remove child sexual abuse materials.
  • The U.K.’s Online Safety Act of 2023 includes measures to keep children and other online users safe from harmful and fraudulent content.
  • In this country, the REPORT Act was signed into law on May 7, 2024. The legislation will strengthen the capabilities of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s national tipline to collect reports of online exploitation, and require the reports and evidence to be preserved for a longer period—thereby giving law enforcement more time to investigate and prosecute.

Dr. Cooper’s daughter Sarah is a founding member of the Brave Movement and has been deeply involved in the Heat Initiative’s campaign as a survivor/lived experience expert. She is a survivor of child sexual abuse by an older man who misrepresented himself on Facebook Messenger. Sarah Cooper has spoken at two of Meta’s previous annual meetings.

Dr. Cooper is also a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility’s working group on child safety and technology. Since 2019, Proxy Impact and Dr. Cooper have worked with members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to empower investors to utilize their leverage to encourage Meta and other tech companies to strengthen child safety measures on social media.

About Fiduciary Trust International

Fiduciary Trust International, a global wealth management firm headquartered in New York, NY, has served individuals, families, endowments and foundations since 1931. With over $102 billion in assets under management and administration as of March 31, 2024, the firm specializes in strategic wealth planning, investment management and trust and estate services, as well as tax and custody services. The New York-based firm and its subsidiaries maintain offices in Coral Gables, FL, Boca Raton, FL, Fort Lauderdale, FL, West Palm Beach, FL, St. Petersburg, FL, Radnor, PA, Lincoln, MA, Los Angeles, CA, San Mateo, CA, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, Wilmington, DE, Reston, VA, and Atlanta, GA. For more information, please visit, and for the latest updates, follow Fiduciary Trust International on LinkedIn and X: @FiduciaryTrust.

About Franklin Templeton

Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE: BEN] is a global investment management organization with subsidiaries operating as Franklin Templeton and serving clients in over 150 countries. Franklin Templeton’s mission is to help clients achieve better outcomes through investment management expertise, wealth management and technology solutions. Through its specialist investment managers, the company offers specialization on a global scale, bringing extensive capabilities in fixed income, equity, alternatives and multi-asset solutions. With more than 1,500 investment professionals, and offices in major financial markets around the world, the California-based company has over 75 years of investment experience and over $1.6 trillion in assets under management as of April 30, 2024. For more information, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

About Proxy Impact

Proxy Impact provides shareholder engagement and proxy voting services that promote sustainable and responsible business practices. For more information, visit

Copyright © 2024 Fiduciary Trust International. All rights reserved.


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