On Thursday, one of those shareholders, Scott M. Stringer, the comptroller of New York City, who administers the city’s public pension fund, said Mr. Zuckerberg’s grip over Facebook protected him from being answerable for the company’s mistakes.
“Renegade executives who are focused only on growth regardless of the risks — and withhold information from the board — put their company, shareholders and, in Facebook’s case, our democracy in jeopardy,” Mr. Stringer said. The New York City pension fund owns 4.5 million shares of Facebook.
Mr. Zuckerberg said on the conference call that he was not willing to step down as chairman.
“I don’t particularly think that that specific proposal is the right way to go,” he said. “But I am quite focused on ways to get more independence around our systems in different ways.”
Mr. Zuckerberg may have other trouble on his hands. Facebook, which has grown tremendously as a business in recent years, is dealing with a slowdown. And advertisers, the lifeblood of the company’s $40 billion business, are increasingly criticizing its tactics.
“Up to now, whatever you said about Facebook, you couldn’t say it was a two-faced company,” said Rishad Tobaccowala, chief growth officer for the Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s biggest advertising groups.
But now it is clear that “it says one thing to you and does something completely different,” Mr. Tobaccowala said. “This is very hard if you are a marketer.”
In Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike blasted Facebook. Senator Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, said in an interview on CNN that he was concerned over Facebook’s power as a “monopoly.”