Shareholder proposal called for report on government requests to remove content
Azzad Asset Management, a leading socially responsible investment firm, today praised shareholders of Google’s parent company Alphabet for their strong vote in favor of greater transparency. A shareholder resolution sponsored by a consortium of investors led by Azzad–and supported by transparency advocate Open MIC–asked the company to disclose search terms and other content removed at the request of foreign governments. It was presented at the company’s annual general meeting held on June 2.
Alphabet reported more than 81 million votes in favor of the resolution in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. With approximately 53% of Alphabet’s voting shares controlled by corporate insiders, support for the resolution translates to nearly 39% of independent shareholders, an increase of 7 percentage points from the proposal’s first vote last year.
“The vote at Alphabet demonstrates that shareholders are deeply concerned about digital technologies and their impact on human rights,” said Michael Connor, Executive Director of Open MIC. “Azzad’s leadership on this issue is a terrific example of the power of shareholder engagement. Open MIC looks forward to our ongoing collaboration on this issue in the interest of transparency and the public good.”
Proponents of the resolution noted that the voluntary blacklisting of queries and content at the request of foreign governments is particularly alarming in light of growing right-wing nationalism around the world.
Azzad has previously suggested that Alphabet follow the example set by industry peers, noting that global media streaming company Netflix publishes the names of films removed around the world due to government requests.
In response to the shareholder proposal, Alphabet management drew attention to its current reporting framework, which the proposal’s supporters have deemed insufficient.
Watch Alphabet’s annual meeting here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en6z2xpRl74 (YouTube)
About Azzad Asset Management
Azzad Asset Management is a socially responsible registered investment advisor committed to providing investment services designed to help people enjoy optimum performance without compromising their values. Azzad believes that companies operating in ethical lines of business offer relatively less business risk and are in a better position to thrive in the long term. The firm is based in Falls Church, Virginia.
Contact: Azzad Investment Communications Director Joshua Brockwell, 703-207-7005, ext. 109, firstname.lastname@example.org