And Peter Thiel is staying on with Facebook. At a recent shareholders meet held by the company, Thiel was re-elected one of its board of directors. The move may surprise those who were expecting the social networking website to let go of Thiel after the Gawker fiasco.
Also re-elected were Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Reed Hastings, Erskine Bowles, Susan Desmond-Hellmann M.D., Marc Andreessen andJan Koum. So basically, the re-election by the shareholders saw the entire board remain the same, however, it has given them — particularly Zuckerberg — added authority and legitimacy.
Speaking of authority, Facebook has also created an all new, non-voting set of Class C stock which will enable Zuckerberg to maintain his control over Facebook. And he has absolutely no intentions of letting go of the control anytime soon either.
How do we know? Well, the Facebook founder said as much in Q&A session following the re-election. According to Zuckerberg, philanthropic efforts quite apart, he plans to continue running Facebook for the coming decades. Well, everything was great and we are sure people were very happy at the turn of things. However, keeping Peter Thiel on may just have some unintended consequences for Facebook, or at the very least the company has certainly made no new fans.
In case you are unaware of what the fuss is about, Thiel backed a $140 million invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker that was brought in by Hulk Holgan — yes, i know you know him.
The lawsuit was won with the help of Thiel’s personal funds and has effectively led to Gawker disclaiming that its future as an independent agency is at an end. The company is currently up for sale. While we wont go into the complicated discussion of if Gawker was in the right or in the wrong, ensuring that it shuts down seems to be going a tad too far.
So yes, keeping the media-buster — pun intended — on, coupled with the fact that it has recently been accussed of suppressing news on its trending now topics, is not going to win Facebook any fans among news publishers. However, we doubt if it particularly matters to the company considering the vast amount of influence it wields as a news deliverer.
The company is one of the top traffic diverters to media and news publishers and the ranking provided by its algorithms play a significant role in determining a publishers revenue and outreach prospects. The company also doesnt have a competitor worth its salt as most other social portals are only now seriously venturing into news delivery.
Meanwhile, despite several voices clamouring about taking away a degree of control from Zuckerberg, the re-election has seen his grasp over the company grow only stronger. In all fairness though, he has been a good founder and CEO whose business acumen has taken the company from its humble beginings to its current status as the top social networking website on the planet.