S.F. Supervisor Pushes to Wipe Zuckerberg's Name From City Hospital

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (Courtesy of UCSF)

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin wants Mark Zuckerberg's name removed from the city's public hospital.

In an impassioned speech at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Peskin railed against the Facebook founder over allegations that the company mishandled user data. Keeping Zuckerberg's name on the building, he argued, sends the wrong message, regardless of how much money he has contributed.

“I really want the city to reassess the value of giving up these naming rights and the message this sends relative to our role as stewards of the public trust,” Peskin told what appeared to be a generally receptive board.

Zuckerberg has been under fire over his company's failure to combat fake news and Russian political meddling, particularly as it played out in the 2016 election. He has also been sharply criticized for Facebook's mishandling of user privacy data.

The San Francisco City Attorney's Office said it received Peskin's request to examine the issue, but has yet to take any position on it.

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Formerly named San Francisco General Hospital, the facility changed its name in 2015 to the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center after Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, made a $75 million donation.

Hospital CEO Dr. Susan Ehrlich was quick to defend having Zuckerberg's name on the building, noting that the contribution has allowed significant improvements in patient care.

The couple's donation has "significantly contributed to the fulfillment of [the hospital's] mission by allowing us to acquire state-of-the-art technology we use every single day to save patient lives, and by providing continuing support of renovations, improvements in patient care and education," Ehrlich said in a statement. "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."

But Sasha Cuttler, a nurse at the hospital, says it's about time to take Zuckerberg's name off the building.

“Now that there continues to be almost on a daily basis a clear indication that all they care about is to continue to move fast and break things," said Cuttler, who wrote an opinion article in the San Francisco Examiner in 2015, opposing the new name. "Now people are seeing what can be broken. The price to pay is just too much.”