Anyone who pays a reasonable amount of attention to tech news knew what would be Issue One at Facebook's first-ever shareholder meeting on Tuesday. And clearly the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw the questions coming.
"We understand that a lot of people are disappointed in the performance of the stock, and we really are, too," he said in a statement at the start of the meeting.
Facebook has frustrated investors since its high-profile, high-value initial public offering. After a $38-per-share IPO in May 2012, the price of Facebook stock quickly plummeted. Today, it's trading below two-thirds of that price, at $24. That has meant a massive slide in the company's valuation, from $104 billion at its IPO to around $58 billion today.
Zuckerberg explained that while he's unhappy with the company's performance, he also takes a long-term view of the company's prospects and expects fluctuations in how the public views it.
Facebook has stabilized since its shaky start as a publicly traded business. In May it reported first-quarter revenues of nearly $1.5 billion, nearly 38 percent higher than revenues in the same quarter of 2012. On Tuesday, Zuckerberg also highlighted the growth of Facebook's mobile offerings and app development.
One other major area of concern from shareholders included the recent disclosure of government surveillance of Americans' internet use. Initial reports alleged that major tech companies including Facebook gave the government access to user information. Facebook, like other sites, insisted shortly after the NSA-led program came to light that the company is not working with the government.
"Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the U.S. or any other government direct access to our servers," Zuckerberg initially said in a statement on the NSA program, dubbed "PRISM."
Zuckerberg reiterated this denial on Tuesday.
"We don't work directly with the NSA, or any other program. Nor do we proactively give user information to anyone," Zuckerberg said in response to an investor question about PRISM data. However, as TechCrunch noted, Zuckerberg's statements on PRISM leave a lot of room for speculation over what kind of cooperation may be happening between the company and the government.
In addition to raising questions about money and privacy, shareholders also took care of typical business. That included reelecting board members Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and six others, including Washington budget guru Erskine Bowles and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.