Facebook’s white male board under fire

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Facebook, the most popular social networking site in America, is under fire from women’s groups because its board of directors consists entirely of white men.

With the company about to go public in May, advocates are beginning to pressure the company to diversify its leadership.

On Thursday the women’s rights group Ultraviolet began circulating a petition calling on Facebook to appoint female board members. According to the group, the lack of women is “nothing short of shameful.”

“Facebook owes it success and makes a ton of money off of its women users. Women are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the sharing that happens on the site. In addition, women account for more than 70% daily fan activity on the site which is a huge source of revenue for the company” said Ultraviolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary.

“Facebook has a problem and they need to solve it before they go public. Mark Zuckerberg should live up to his company’s mission statement and appoint at least one woman to the board today.”

In a letter to its 300,000 members, Ultraviolet pointed out that the majority of Facebook users (58 percent) are women.

“But in a few weeks, when Facebook goes public it will not have a single woman on its board — a decision that’s not only in conflict with Facebook’s own mission but one that’s also just bad for business,” the group wrote, urging members to sign its petition.

Days earlier, the “FACE IT: Seven White Men That’s Ridiculous” campaign launched to highlight the fact that all seven board members — PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Washington Post Co. CEO Donald Graham, Breyer Capital CEO James Breyer, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and former Univ. of North Carolina president Erskine Bowles — are monochrome men.

FACE IT, too, wants the company to diversify.

“The reason is that Facebook has announced a $5 billion IPO — with a corporate board composed exclusively of white men,” the group explains. “We believe that this board of white men should include women of all colors. Because Facebook should go public with a board that reflects its own mission — to make the world more open and connected. Simple as that.”

Facebook is not, however, entirely without women in powerful positions. In August 2011, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was listed in Forbes magazine as the fifth most powerful woman in the world.

Facebook declined to comment.

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