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Facebook's board of directors re-elects Peter Thiel

Engadget Engadget 20/06/2016 Andrew Dalton
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Peter Thiel, the early Facebook investor and board member who admitted last month to secretly financing multiple lawsuits against Gawker Media, will officially remain on Facebook's executive board, Mashable reports today. COO Sheryl Sandberg had previously stated that Thiel would keep his position because he "did what he did on his own, not as a Facebook board member," but Monday's annual shareholder's meeting was the last chance for the board to acknowledge that his actions run counter to Facebook's own mission statement. During the vote, the shareholders voted to keep all board members who are up for re-election, including Thiel. Mark Zuckerberg, who has the overriding vote as founder and majority stakeholder, approved the decision.

By bankrolling Hulk Hogan's high-profile lawsuit against Gawker, Thiel drove the media company to bankruptcy. Thiel called his actions "one of my greater philanthropic things that I've done." Thiel's critics on the other hand, have called him a secretive billionaire waging a shadowy war to suppress the free press -- or at least the part of the free press that publishes stories he doesn't like.

"This contradicts the messages [Zuckerberg] has been sending—about Facebook being open, inclusive, and unbiased," startup advisor and Stanford professor Vivek Wadhwa told Mashable.

Thiel, an ardent Trump supporter, was also part of a group of Facebook representatives who met with members of the conservative media to address accusations of bias in the social network's Trending Topics section.


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