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Environmental activists to crash Facebook's shareholder meeting

June 10, 2013|By Jessica Guynn
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook is the latest Silicon Valley company to bar the media from attending its annual meeting.

Google and Zynga also decided to keep out the media this year.

Instead, Facebook suggests the media watch a live webcast of its first shareholder meeting on Tuesday morning. Google also webcast its meeting.

Zynga did not webcast its shareholder meeting, which was held one day after the company laid off 520 employees. Notably Apple allowed reporters to attend its annual meeting in February.

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Bay Area protesters of the Keystone XL pipeline are not on the guest list but said they plan to show up at Facebook's shareholder meeting scheduled to be held at a hotel in Millbrae.

Their intentions are not friendly. Protesters are trying to turn up the pressure on Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, whose political lobbying group Fwd.us ran ads in support of lawmakers who are in favor of the pipeline.

Zuckerberg launched Fwd.us to focus on passing comprehensive immigration reform. It has employed some controversial tactics including running three television ads to support senators in their home states, including praising one for supporting the Keystone XL pipeline. The ads quickly drew the ire of environmentalists and liberal groups.

It's unclear whether shareholders will voice any objections to Fwd.us' tactics. They are probably paying more attention to speculation that Facebook will be added to the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

That speculation lifted Facebook shares as much as 5% in trading on Monday. Since its rocky debut as a publicly traded company in May 2012, Facebook had dropped 39%. Facebook also benefited from upbeat reports from analysts.

Jordan Rohan, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said Facebook would likely join the S&P in the next year, broadening its investor base and causing a "near-term pop" in the share price. 

JP Morgan Chase & Co. analyst Doug Anmuth said Facebook has begun to attract more major brand advertisers such as McDonald's and Procter & Gamble and he remains optimistic that demand from advertisers will increase. He raised his 2013 revenue projection to $6.5 billion from $6.4 billion.

He also predicted that mobile will account for 38% of advertising revenue by the end of 2013 and more than 50% by the end of 2014.

Even with some of the negative attention to Fwd.us, Zuckerberg is not tempering his political ambitions. He and wife Priscilla Chan will host a political fundraiser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, to help his U.S. Senate bid. Zuckerberg has not declared a party affiliation. He hosted a political fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, in February.

ALSO:

Two top executives quit Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.us political group

Facebook aims to drive revenues by making it easier to advertise

Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.us draws fire from some in the tech industry

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