PFA Challenges Meta

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Nordic investors have long been among the most vocal critics of the sustainability shortfalls of tech giants. Among institutional investors who have made it a priority to engage on such topics continuously are the Swedish Council on Ethics as well as Storebrand Asset Management. On 5 August, Danish pension company PFA officially joined the ranks of the critics, announcing that the Federal District Court in the Northern District of California has selected them alongside the State of Ohio (Ohio Public Employees Retirement System) to lead a new class action suit in California against Meta Inc., Facebook’s parent company.

    The plaintiffs accuse Meta of misleading investors on several issues during 2021, including how an algorithm change intended to increase user engagement led to the disproportionate dissemination of misinformation and harmful content of various kinds. They also allege the company’s public assurances that it applies standards of conduct equally to all users were not followed through.

    Meta’s investors lost a lot of money due to the misinformation, as the share price dropped significantly. Financial losses aside, PFA states that they also have a viable long-term interest in bringing this action to ensure that Meta acts in the future in a way that ensures healthy lives for all and promotes well-being for all age groups. Such a strategy would align them to the UN’s third sustainable development goal (SDG 3), Health and Well-being.

    “At PFA, we have an obligation to invest our clients’ pension savings responsibly,” comments Rasmus Bessing, COO of PFA Asset Management (in Danish). “As investors, we must be able to rely on the listed companies in which we invest our clients’ money to provide timely, complete, and accurate information to us and the rest of the market. In addition, we believe that Facebook/Meta Inc, as one of the world’s largest content providers and social media companies, has a responsibility to uphold its publicly stated commitments to apply its standards of conduct equally to all users and take appropriate steps to prevent the spread of misinformation or harmful content,” concludes Bessing.

    Image courtesy of Glen Carrie on Unsplash
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia has accumulated experience in asset management for more than 20 years in Stockholm and Beijing, in portfolio management, asset allocation, fund selection and risk management. In December 2020, she completed a program in Sustainability Studies at the University of Linköping. Julia speaks Mandarin, Bulgarian, Hindi, Russian, Swedish, Urdu and English. She holds a Master in Indology from Sofia University and has completed studies in Economics at both Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics.

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