San Francisco’s District 6 supervisor is pushing to remove Mark Zuckerberg’s name from a public hospital.
The Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center received its name in 2015 after the Facebook founder and his wife donated $75 million to the hospital’s foundation. San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney says the tech CEO’s name is “unseemly” on the public hospital.
In a tweet thread posted on Sunday, Haney said that Zuckerberg’s name should be taken off the hospital because of his refusal to “regulate hate speech” and “disinformation” on his social media platform, and because large donations should not “purchase permanent advertising on public buildings.”
“Massive advertising boycott of Facebook for failing to regulate hate speech & disinformation Huge staff walk outs & protests. Cozy relationship w Trump, $ to Republicans. Much of it seems directly tied to Mark Zuckerberg. Why is his name still on our SF public general hospital?” Haney began.
Zuckerberg has repeatedly defended his platform’s commitment to empowering free expression. In a speech at Georgetown University last year, Zuckerberg spoke out strongly in defense of freedom of expression. “We can continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness, but believing that the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us or we can decide the cost is simply too great,” he said. “I’m here today because I believe we must continue to stand for free expression.”
More recently, amid pressure to follow the lead of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in censoring more posts, particularly President Trump’s, Zuckerberg renewed his defense of free speech, writing in a May 29 post, “I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies.”
Removing the CEO’s name may have consequences for the San Francisco hospital. Zuckerberg and Chan reached an agreement with the city’s Board of Supervisors to donate the money to the hospital in exchange for their names to remain on the care center for 50 years.
Haney contends that if enough people call for the name to be changed, Zuckerberg may not sue to enforce the agreement.
“There are options to still remove it, and nurses who have been working on a strategy that wouldn’t lose us millions,” Haney said. The hospital nurses’ union has been pushing for the hospital to be renamed for several years.
“The option the nurses prefer — a ballot measure calling for it to be changed, put up for a public vote. Their view is that if it passed, Zuckerberg wouldn’t sue to stop the name from being removed,” Haney continued. “The name on the PUBLIC hospital is unseemly, even regardless of his recent inactions.”
“$75 million is a big donation, and it’s welcomed and appreciated. It shouldn’t require permanent naming rights, advertising, on our public hospital. SF taxpayers have given billions to the hospital, it’s their building,” Haney said.
In 2018, San Francisco District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin campaigned to have Zuckerberg’s name removed from the hospital over the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which a British consulting firm was reportedly given access to data on millions of Facebook users without their consent, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
At the time, hospital CEO Susan Ehrlich asserted that Zuckerberg and Chan’s gift had purchased the hospital life-saving equipment and supplies, while noting that memorializing people who give large donations encourages more giving.
“In acknowledgment and appreciation of that gift, our hospital now carries their names,” Ehrlich said. “Naming is an important convention in philanthropy that encourages additional donors. … We are honored that Dr. Chan and Mr. Zuckerberg thought highly enough of our hospital and staff, and the health of San Franciscans, to donate their resources to our mission.”
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