Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings is up for re-election in his role of a Facebook director, the social media giant revealed in a Friday filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Despite the fact that Facebook’s commitments to original programming are now placing it on course to eventually compete with Netflix on a large scale, Mr. Hastings is likely to spend at least one more year on the company’s Board of Directors. During a Saturday TED conference held in Vancouver, Canada, Netflix chief said the $8 billion he’s planning to invest in programming over the course of this year isn’t “as much as it sounds” in the context of the entire industry which also includes juggernauts such as Disney.
Early last month, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down from Disney’s board, having opted to not run for re-election at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Both described the move as a result of a growing conflict of interest that became difficult to avoid given how Facebook and Twitter’s programming investments turned them into more direct Disney rivals. Mr. Hastings apparently still believes he can balance his two roles, though many industry watchers are now predicting he, too, will have to step down from Facebook’s board in the foreseeable future for similar reasons.
As part of the same Vancouver appearance, Netflix’s CEO acknowledged some of the criticism Facebook has recently been enduring has been warranted, having reiterated Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg’s claims about how the social media giant must strive to do better to protect user data and prevent large-scale misuse of its platform moving forward. The industry veteran also described Netflix as “the anti-Apple,” having explained how his firm doesn’t compartmentalize departments and instead allows for a free flow of all information across its corporate structure, which is a model that Facebook itself is also following to a large degree.
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