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San Francisco Board of Supervisors member wants Facebook CEO Zuckerberg's name removed from hospital

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan contributed $75 million in 2015 to the San Francisco General Hospital foundation. The hospital was renamed with their names in the title, but now one Board of Supervisors wants Zuckerberg’s name removed. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

City Board of Supervisors member Aaron Peskin wants Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s name removed from San Francisco General Hospital.

Why is this happening?

The issue stems from privacy concerns about Facebook and the company’s alleged “use of an opposition research firm to discredit critics,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Peskin asked the city attorney on Tuesday what steps could be taken to have Zuckerberg's name removed. A spokesperson for the city attorney’s office told the news outlet it is researching the matter.

In 2015, the hospital was renamed Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital after the Facebook CEO and his wife contributed $75 million to the hospital’s foundation.

The hospital’s formal name includes Chan’s, but signage calls it the “Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center."

Peskin cited concerns on Tuesday with the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018 which scraped personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

This month, the social media giant came under fire for a New York Times report that alleges Facebook used a political consulting firm to discredit activists who criticized the company.

According to the New York Times, the company attempted to characterize Facebook critics as anti-Semitic. Facebook is reportedly no longer working with the consulting company.

“It is not normal for private entities to use that information to spread, and in this case anti-Semitic, conspiracy theories on platforms they control,” Peskin reportedly said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “It is not normal for Mark Zuckerberg and (Facebook chief operating officer) Sheryl Sandberg to refuse to accept responsibility and to publicly distance themselves from acts that they have personally instigated.

"...This is about the integrity of institutions and spaces that are overwhelmingly funded by public money and taxpayer dollars,” he added.

Under a 2015 agreement with the Board of Supervisors, Zuckerberg’s name is to remain on the hospital for 50 years. That could make it difficult to remove.

The $75 million donation is believed to be “the single largest contribution by private individuals in support of a public hospital in the United States,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Have others protested the name?

In May, a group of nurses also called for the name change. Some nurses and patients indicated that seeing Zuckerberg’s name on the hospital made them uneasy about how their medical information might be handled.

At the time, a data breach at SF General and Laguna Honda Hospital led to the exposure of the personal information for900 patients. The information included names, dates of birth, medical conditions, diagnoses, treatment and care plans. Financial information was not included.

The breach happened after a hospital vendor gained unauthorized access to the information.

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