Citing shootings, NY fund urges votes against Twitter and Meta directors

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Twitter logo on non-3D printed Twitter logos is seen in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) - New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is calling for votes against directors at Twitter Inc and at Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc at their upcoming annual meetings, saying both companies failed to enforce their standards against harmful content including from a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. on May 14.

In letters seen by Reuters and sent to each companies' boards ahead of events both scheduled for May 25, Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees New York's pension fund, cited the companies did not remove video clips and screenshots of the shooter's livestream, and his alleged racist manifesto, from their platforms.

Such gaps help radicalize individuals and lead to calls for further social media regulation, DiNapoli wrote. He told both boards that until they can show an "ability to successfully oversee the company’s content management policies, the Fund will continue voting against directors" and called on other investors to do the same.

Asked about the letters, a Twitter representative said it is taking steps including "removing videos and media related to the incident, as well as Tweets that contain third-party links to manifesto and videos of the attack."

Although the company is under agreement to be purchased by Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk for $44 billion, he has tweeted the deal is "temporarily on hold" and a long delay or cancellation could renew the importance of the annual meeting where two directors are up for election.

"We cannot assume the transaction will close," a spokesman for DiNapoli said.

Meta said it quickly designated the shooting as a "terrorist attack" that triggered a process to remove the suspect's account and other material. "We have teams working around the clock across Meta to identify, remove, and block violating content related to the shooting," Meta said in a statement sent by a representative.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Chris Reese)

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