Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Facebook https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Facebook RSS feed en Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:00:08 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Government and regulatory criticism means Facebook’s Libra could be dead on arrival ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/223925/government-and-regulatory-criticism-means-facebooks-libra-could-be-dead-on-arrival-223925.html The stars appear not to be aligning for Libra, Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) new cryptocurrency, which has suffered a barrage of governmental and regulatory criticism.

Scheduled for a public launch next year, the cryptocurrency, which also counts taxi app Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER), payments giant Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and FTSE 100 telecoms firm Vodafone PLC (LON:VOD) among its backers, has recently been under scrutiny from a number of regulators and lawmakers who have expressed concerns around its potential to upend the global financial order.

However, these developments appeared to come to a head on Monday, when a Reuters report revealed draft legislation from the US Congress that would ban any large technology firm (defined as making at least US$25bn in annual revenue) from creating or operating a digital asset, which would include cryptocurrencies like Libra.

This came hot on the heels of comments last week made by the man himself, President Donald Trump, when he said he “wasn’t a fan” of cryptocurrencies, whose value he said was based on “thin air” and facilitated illegal behaviour.

I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019

And while traders may not like to pay much heed to Trump’s Twitter ramblings, similar (albeit more nuanced) comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell may have put the wind up crypto investors.

READ: Bitcoin sinks over 10% as Powell calls for halt to Facebook’s Libra project

Speaking to the Financial Services Committee of the US’s House of Representatives on Wednesday, Powell said that Libra raised “serious concerns” around privacy, consumer protection and money laundering as well as more general financial stability.

Until these concerns were addressed, Powell said he did not think the project should proceed.

With pressure mounting from separate avenues of political and regulatory power in the US, it seems that Libra could be regulated into irrelevance before the public manage to their hands on it next year, and thus put greater pressure on Bitcoin and the rest of the nascent crypto sector.

This could potentially be putting pressure on the price of Bitcoin, often seen as a bellwether for the sector as a whole, as it has fallen around 13% over the last seven days.

“Old men shouting at the moon”

While the regulatory threat to Libra appears to be mounting, some in the industry see Facebook’s currency as bringing more fundamental debates around cryptocurrency to a head, as well as highlighting the threat of the technology to government-controlled monetary systems.

George McDonaugh, chief executive of crypto and blockchain investment firm KR1 PLC (LON:KR1), says that the recent governmental outbursts against Libra, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the equivalents of “old men shouting at the moon” as new technology challenges the system of government-backed currency that has existed since the abandonment of the gold standard in the 1930s.

He adds that Libra’s prominence means that the trajectory is “inevitably headed” toward a debate over the nature of money and that, bar criminal sentencing, it will become “very difficult” for liberal, democratic countries to prevent the spread of cryptocurrency use.

In the case of Facebook, McDonaugh says the argument over Libra will eventually end up at the Supreme Court, with the precedent set by Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, which ruled that money was classed as speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution, and as such a ruling would likely need to be made regarding whether Libra itself should be classed as money and thus covered under the precedent.

In fact, he says that the pending legal quagmire that Facebook could fall into over Libra made decentralised cryptos like Bitcoin look like “the best thing since sliced bread” as its decentralised nature avoids the pitfalls of a centralised authority like Facebook and the Libra Association which was set up to govern the currency.

“You can’t haul Bitcoin in front of Congress”, he says.

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Mon, 15 Jul 2019 14:39:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/223925/government-and-regulatory-criticism-means-facebooks-libra-could-be-dead-on-arrival-223925.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook unveils new Libra cryptocurrency ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/222338/facebook-unveils-new-libra-cryptocurrency-222338.html Social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has published details of its new cryptocurrency, Libra, ahead of a planned public launch next year.

According to a whitepaper, released on Tuesday, the new currency will be built on its own blockchain and governed by an independent body known as the Libra Association.

READ: Bitcoin hits 12-month high as launch of Facebook cryptocurrency expected imminently

The consortium is currently comprised of 28 founding members including payment giants Visa Inc (NYSE:V), Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) and PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) as well as ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER) and FTSE 100 telecoms giant Vodafone Group Plc (LON:VOD).

Each of these members are expected to inject at least US$10mln of their own cash into the project in order to form a bedrock reserve for the currency, while Facebook says it is planning to have 100 founding members before the official public launch next year.

These may include other online giants such as Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Inc (NASDAQ:MSFT), who have yet to sign up to the initiative.

Each of these members will be responsible for their own 'node' in the Libra blockchain, through which the currency will be managed and operated.

According to the whitepaper, the aim of Libra is to allow users to convert fiat currency into the equivalent value of Libra which can then be used with accepting merchants and can be converted back into fiat money if desired.

Facebook itself will be launching a digital wallet, called Calibra, into its existing family of apps which will allow users to pay for things through the company’s networks, which include instant messaging service WhatsApp and image sharing site Instagram.

The company seems to be trying to replicate the success of Chinese messaging app WeChat, which not only allows users to message each other but also offers a payment service that enables subscribers to transfer money to contacts or pay for various services through their mobile phones.

The Libra project is also aiming to provide financial services to what it estimated was the 1.7bn people in the world without a bank account, saying the new currency would allow anyone with a mobile phone and internet connection to transfer money instantly and at little cost.

Stablecoin

The whitepaper said that Libra will be backed by “a collection of low-volatility assets” such as bank deposits and stable short-term government securities.

As a result, the currency will not be ‘pegged’ to an existing currency such as the US dollar and will therefore not have a fixed exchange rate against other currencies.

The asset bedrock, however, also means that Libra will act as a 'stablecoin', which means its value will not be subject to the wild swings associated with existing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Increased likelihood of crypto adoption

Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, said that Facebook’s foray into the crypto space will expose its 2bn users to the concept of digital currency and bring familiarity of the technology to a much wider audience.

He compared the move to Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) launching its Prime streaming service, which brought the idea into the mainstream and provided a big boost to the shares of rival Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX).

He added that the wider exposure to crypto should spur regulators into action as while “niche” speculation of cryptos was easy to ignore, regular usage by a huge number of people could not rely on the current “wild-west” approach.

“Can-kicking big decisions like how to regulate cryptocurrency ETFs are more acceptable while cryptocurrencies are a speculative niche [but regular] usage by 2 billion people means regulation of cryptocurrencies is needed asap”, Lawler said.

Following the news, Facebook’s shares were up 1.8% at US$192.4 in pre-market US trading.

Meanwhile, the price of original cryptocurrency Bitcoin was down 1.5% in early afternoon trading in London at US$9,129, although this was still close to a 12-month high of around US$9,346 reached on Monday.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2019 13:50:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/222338/facebook-unveils-new-libra-cryptocurrency-222338.html
<![CDATA[News - Bitcoin hits 12-month high as launch of Facebook cryptocurrency expected imminently ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/222235/bitcoin-hits-12-month-high-as-launch-of-facebook-cryptocurrency-expected-imminently-222235.html The Bitcoin price hit a 12-month high on Monday as investors scrambled to take advantage of the launch of Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) own cryptocurrency, Libra, which is expected on Tuesday.

In lunchtime trading, Bitcoin was up 2.2% at US$9,250, a level not seen since April 2018.

The original cryptocurrency is often seen as a key bellwether for the wider blockchain and crypto sector, with investors seeming to think that Facebook’s foray into the industry will boost the rate of adoption and investment in the technology.

READ: Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency could change the face of the sector forever

The surge also followed a report from the Wall Street Journal last week that Facebook had set up a consortium of firms, called the Libra Association, to govern how its currency will be distributed and its value managed.

Members of the association include payment giants Visa Inc (NYSE:V), Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) and PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) as well as ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER) and FTSE 100 telecoms giant Vodafone Group Plc (LON:VOD), according to a list seen by crypto news site The Block.

Each of the consortium’s members has reportedly paid Facebook US$10mln to manage a ‘node’, which will allow them to access and view the Libra network, while the value of the currency itself will be pegged to a basket of currencies.

Many have speculated that the digital currency will be integrated across Facebook as well as other social networks the company owns such as instant messaging service WhatsApp and picture sharing network Instagram.

The company seems to be trying to replicate the success of Chinese messaging app WeChat, which not only allows users to message each other but also offers a payment service that enables subscribers to transfer money to contacts or pay for various services through their mobile phones.

And that’s not the only thing pushing up the Bitcoin price

While the headlines are dominated by Libra’s seemingly imminent launch, it isn’t the only thing that could be behind the rise in the Bitcoin price recently.

Litecoin, another cryptocurrency that sits beside Bitcoin as one of the industry's major players, has seen its value rise 336% this year to US$136 ahead of its 'halving' on the 5 August, when the reward for 'mining' its coins will be cut by 50%.

READ: Why the next Bitcoin rally could be closer than you think

When a halving occurs it makes the digital asset, in this case Litecoins, harder to obtain and pushes up their value, and, if it is popular enough, lifts the rest of the market with it.

Bitcoin itself is also due for a halving in May next year, which could signal the start of another crypto bull run.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2019 13:09:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/222235/bitcoin-hits-12-month-high-as-launch-of-facebook-cryptocurrency-expected-imminently-222235.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency could change the face of the sector forever ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221660/facebooks-upcoming-cryptocurrency-could-change-the-face-of-the-sector-forever-221660.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is reportedly planning to release its own cryptocurrency later this month, a move that will challenge the dominance of original crypto Bitcoin.

The social media giant is also said to be ceding control of the digital currency to an independent foundation composed of dozens of financial institutions and other tech companies in a bid to boost its credibility and assuage the concerns of financial regulators, according to a report from news site The Information.

READ: Facebook aims to take on Bitcoin with new cryptocurrency

In fact, according to the report, Facebook will even allow employees working on the project to draw their salaries in the new currency, which is expected to be pegged to the US dollar, and also has looked at using physical machines where users can buy the cryptocurrency - – like cash-dispensing machines in reverse.

Third-party groups may also be allowed to become ‘nodes’ for the currency, although they are likely to pay as much as US$10mln for the privilege.

Nodes are bases that have the vast amounts of computing power necessary to validate cryptocurrency transactions by solving complex mathematical formulas.

Many have speculated that the digital currency will be integrated across Facebook as well as other social networks the company owns such as instant messaging service WhatsApp and picture sharing network Instagram.

The company seems to be trying to replicate the success of Chinese messaging app WeChat, which not only allows users to message each other but also offers a payment service that enables subscribers to transfer money to contacts or pay for various services through their mobile phones.

Facebook’s move into crypto also comes as founder Mark Zuckerberg continues to explore methods of weaning the social network off of its advertising-based revenue model following a series of scandals over the handling of user data, which has led to calls for tighter privacy controls and regulation over how platforms can sell info on their members.

The billionaire has previously met with Bank of England governor Mark Carney as well as US Treasury officials to assess the risks of launching a new digital currency.

Is that it(coin) for Bitcoin?

With an established tech giant such as Facebook finally planning to muscle its way into the crypto space, could Bitcoin and other digital currencies be facing extinction?

George McDonaugh, chief executive of blockchain and cryptocurrency investment firm KR1 PLC (LON:KR1), isn’t convinced that Bitcoin is in any danger from Zuckerberg’s new enterprise.

While he says the exact details of what Facebook’s cryptocurrency will actually do are still mostly unknown, McDonaugh expects it will act more like an “internal PayPal” to try to draw more users onto the platform.

He adds that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are currently acting more like speculative assets, with investors buying into them on the hopes that the price will rise, as opposed to the Facebook crypto which is more likely to be focused on serving as a medium of exchange for goods and services, echoing apps like WeChat.

In fact, McDonaugh says Facebook’s involvement in the space could actually be a boon for the industry as the tech giant could potentially introduce “billions of people to the concept of cryptocurrency” and raise the credibility of the technology with the wider public.

There is also the idea that using Facebook’s cryptocurrency could serve as a substitute for a bank account as a form of identity verification, while the spending would also generate useful metadata.

However, that has the potential to throw up yet more data and privacy concerns that have dogged the social network in the past.

Or, as McDonaugh puts it, “would you trust Zuckerberg with your money?”

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Thu, 06 Jun 2019 15:40:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221660/facebooks-upcoming-cryptocurrency-could-change-the-face-of-the-sector-forever-221660.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook aims to take on Bitcoin with new cryptocurrency ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220918/facebook-aims-to-take-on-bitcoin-with-new-cryptocurrency-220918.html Social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is reportedly looking to challenge the dominance of Bitcoin with plans to launch its own cryptocurrency at the start of next year.

The new currency, referred to as GlobalCoin, is expected to begin testing by the end of this year and be launched in the first quarter of 2020.

READ: The release of the Oculus Quest could help Facebook recoup its US$2.3bn investment in less than six years

However, it is not yet known how the currency will be stored or transferred, as well as whether its value will be pegged to an existing fiat currency such as the dollar.

Facebook’s efforts have been accompanied by discussions between the company, its founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Bank of England governor Mark Carney as well as US Treasury officials to assess the risks of launching a new digital currency.

According to the Financial Times, Facebook has also been in talks with several crypto exchanges including Gemini, founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevos, two of Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmates who won a US$65mln settlement after suing him for stealing their idea for a social network.

It is thought that Zuckerberg is aiming to integrate GlobalCoin into WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging service, which would allow users to make payments to their contacts without having to leave the platform.

Facebook seems to be hoping to replicate the success of Chinese messaging app WeChat, which allows users to message each other while also offering a payment service to transfer money to contacts or for various services through their mobile phones.

The move is also speculated to be an attempt to move away from the social network’s advertising-based revenue model following a series of scandals over Facebook’s handling of user data, which has led to calls for tighter privacy controls and regulation over how platforms can sell info on their members.

Commenting on the news, analysts at ING said that Facebook’s push to create a currency for its platform may find banks “disintermediated” from transactions, while business suppliers wanting access to the social network’s user base could find themselves bound to the platform.

The Dutch bank added that central bank’s would be watching the developments closely, as while previous launches of virtual currencies have had a negligible impact on monetary policy and financial stability, the scale of Facebook’s platform and the potential amount of transactions being handled by what in effect would be a foreign currency may cause them to think again.

Bitcoin, however, seemed mostly unphased by the news and was up 3.6% at US$7,903 in mid-afternoon trading on Friday.

--Adds ING comment and updates Bitcoin prices--

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Fri, 24 May 2019 09:01:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220918/facebook-aims-to-take-on-bitcoin-with-new-cryptocurrency-220918.html
<![CDATA[News - The release of the Oculus Quest could help Facebook recoup its US$2.3bn investment in less than six years ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220712/the-release-of-the-oculus-quest-could-help-facebook-recoup-its-us23bn-investment-in-less-than-six-years-220712.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could be on the cusp of recouping its US$2.3bn investment in virtual reality (VR) tech group Oculus after the latter released its latest headset, the Oculus Quest, on Tuesday.

With the VR revolution having only really gathered pace in the last few years, Oculus has already managed to establish itself as one of the industry’s biggest players and is poised to earn the social media giant a tidy sum for its initial outlay.

But what is the Oculus Quest and how could it prove to be an industry game-changer?

New kid on the block

The Quest is the third iteration in Oculus’ series of headsets, following the Rift, which was released in 2016, and the Oculus Go released in May of last year.

However, unlike its predecessors, the Quest is pitched as an all-in-one video game system that allows users to play games in VR without the need of external equipment, in contrast to the Rift which relied on the processing power of an attached PC to play games.

The Go, meanwhile, was portable and did not require a PC but was less high-powered and aimed more at watching content like Netflix and YouTube.

The Quest is aiming to bridge the gap between these previous editions, combining the wireless freedom of the Go with the game processing power of the Rift, but without the hefty expense of a gaming PC to make it work.

According to David Whelan, the chief executive of VR software developer VR Education Holdings Plc (LON:VRE), what gives the Quest a leg up on its predecessors is the prospect of “affordable high-quality VR”, i.e. the power of a gaming machine at a more affordable price tag.

READ: VR Education’s Apollo 11 experience selected by Facebook to be launch title on Oculus Quest

“Up until now, the limiting factor for good virtual reality is the cost of hardware. For a good experience, you would have needed a computer and a VR device, that’s around a US$1,500 expense. With the Oculus Quest that becomes a US$400 device”, Whelan said in March.

The Quest is also proving to be a boon for VRE as its Apollo 11 VR showcase experience, which allows users to witness the 1969 moon landing first-hand from the viewpoint of US astronaut Neil Armstrong, is to be included as a launch title for the device.

Virtually unstoppable

With the power of a FAANG behemoth behind it, Oculus has managed to go from strength to strength in line with the growing popularity of the VR market, the value of which is forecast to balloon to US$193bn in 2022 from just US$6.1bn in 2016.

The Rift, which was the company’s first headset, managed to net it nearly half a billion dollars over a three-year lifespan and a return of nearly 200 times on the US$2.5mln it raised in a crowdfunding prior to Facebook’s acquisition.

It was also a good start for Facebook, which bought Oculus in 2014 as part of a push to get more VR devices into the hands of consumers, a strategy that it hoped would increase interaction with its social network.

By 2018, Oculus VR devices were the second highest selling brand behind Sony at 900,000 units, while for 2019 this figure is expected to increase by nearly 90% to 1.7mln.

With the Rift having been retired and replaced by the Go, Quest and a more advanced Rift S system which still requires a PC link, Oculus’ revenues could also be about to get a lot bigger.

Assuming the forecast sales numbers for 2019 are split equally between the three new systems (Quest, Go and Rift S), Oculus could be earning around US$651mln from its headset sales this year alone.

If those figures hold true, and at the very least repeat themselves each year, Facebook will have recouped it’s the value of its US$2.3bn purchase in around six years, although with sales of VR headsets on a growth trend that shows no signs of slowing, it could be even earlier.

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Tue, 21 May 2019 15:15:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220712/the-release-of-the-oculus-quest-could-help-facebook-recoup-its-us23bn-investment-in-less-than-six-years-220712.html
<![CDATA[News - Bitcoin tests resistance at US$8K following weekend rally ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220613/bitcoin-tests-resistance-at-us8k-following-weekend-rally-220613.html Bitcoin USD (CCC:BTC-USD) rallied on Sunday as the cryptocurrency took another swing at the US$8,000 plateau.

Its value climbed as high as US$8,264 overnight before dropping back Mornday morning. The Sunday recovery followed a selloff Friday below the US$7,000 level that briefly undermined cryptocurrency bulls.

Investors have turned to Bitcoin and other cryptos as stocks have been volatile as the US-China trade war continues to escalate. Since the crypto crossed the US$5,000 threshold on April 5, the first time in five months, the Dow has fallen about 650 points. 

After its weekend jump, Bitcoin dropped nearly 4% Monday to US$7,870.34.

READ: Bitcoin surge continues as retailers move to accept cryptos, investors seek out safe haven

Meanwhile, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is jumping into blockchain. The social media giant has created a financial technology company in Switzerland called Libra Network, Reuters reported Friday.

The company, registered in Geneva on May 2, focus on “investing, payments, financing, identity management, analytics, big data, blockchain and other technologies.”

Contact Andrew Kessel at andrew.kessel@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

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Mon, 20 May 2019 09:57:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220613/bitcoin-tests-resistance-at-us8k-following-weekend-rally-220613.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook investors shrug off US$3bn charge for privacy violations as underlying growth continues ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/219107/facebook-investors-shrug-off-us3bn-charge-for-privacy-violations-as-underlying-growth-continues-219107.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has booked a US$3bn charge in its results for the first quarter in anticipation of a fine for breaching privacy rules, however investors were buoyed by a rise in underlying growth.

In its first quarter results on Wednesday, the social media giant said it had set aside the multi-billion dollar figure as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to penalise it for breaking a consent decree on the privacy of its users.

READ: Facebook shares drop as two more senior execs depart

While the actual figure has yet to be released, Facebook said it expected its losses over the matter to be between US$3bn and US$5bn.

Despite this, investors were in a positive mood, with the company’s shares rising 8.6% to US$198.3 in pre-market trading on Thursday as by taking the fine out of the equation, the company had actually improved its year-on-year performance.

For the first quarter, Facebook reported a profit of US$2.4bn, lower than the US$5bn last year. However when the US$3bn fine charge was excluded, profits rose to US$5.4bn while revenues were also up to US$15.1bn from US$12bn.

The company also reported that its user base had grown to 2.38bn in March from 2.2bn last year, while the number of users that were active on the site daily increased to 1.56bn on average in the month compared to 1.45bn in the prior year.

The share price reaction will bring relief to the embattled social network, which has been hit by several scandals over the last two years as concerns over fake news, data gathering, and user privacy violations have all placed the company and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg under intense scrutiny.

More recently, the group has also had to contend with the departure of two senior executives, with chief product officer Chris Cox and head of WhatsApp Chris Daniels both exiting in mid-March.

UBS upgrades to ‘buy’ as ad trends point to “strong” year ahead

In a note to clients, analysts at UBS upgraded Facebook to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ and hiked their target price to US$240, saying advertising trends pointed to a “strong” 2019/20 fiscal year.

The bank said while 2019 would be a “year of transition”, Facebook’s management had produced “multiple quarters” of revenue growth ahead of market consensus, driven by user, engagement and revenue growth on Instagram, which Facebook bought for US$1bn in 2012.

“Instagram is now one of the Internet's large scaled digital ad platforms that can sustain growth & operating leverage (even as the platform transitions to Stories/Shopping) for years to come.”

While concerns around potential regulation and privacy would persist, UBS said the market now understood these risks.

The bank added that developments in virtual and augmented reality, messaging, eCommerce and advertising all provided upside for “platform evolution” in the future.

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Thu, 25 Apr 2019 12:41:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/219107/facebook-investors-shrug-off-us3bn-charge-for-privacy-violations-as-underlying-growth-continues-219107.html
<![CDATA[News - Instagram launches in-app shopping feature ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216777/instagram-launches-in-app-shopping-feature-216777.html Users can now shop on Instagram thanks to a new feature unveiled Tuesday called “Checkout,” which lets users purchase products directly from a brand’s post, arrange payment and track shipping, all through the mobile app.

As of now, 22 business are available for in-app shopping – primarily clothing and makeup brands such as sporting goods retailer Nike (NYSE:NKE), clothing retailer H&M and Kylie Cosmetics – with more companies coming soon.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which owns Instagram, saw its share price rise 1.7% to $163.13.

READ: Facebook shares drop as two more senior execs depart

The move is a potential gamechanger for a company looking to tap into a younger online shopping demographic. According to Pew Research Center data from 2018, 72% of US teens 13 to 17 years old said they use Instagram. 

When making a payment, users will be able to use their PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) accounts. The payment app announced a partnership with Instagram on Tuesday. The company's PayPal for Partners platform allows Instagram to manage the end-to-end commerce experience. 

Paypal stock rose 0.9% to $101.14.

Contact Andrew Kessel at andrew.kessel@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

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Tue, 19 Mar 2019 10:55:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216777/instagram-launches-in-app-shopping-feature-216777.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook shares drop as two more senior execs depart ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216553/facebook-shares-drop-as-two-more-senior-execs-depart-216553.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares headed lower in pre-market trading in New York on Friday after the social media giant announced the departures of two senior executives.

Mark Zuckerberg confirmed late on Thursday that chief product officer Chris Cox and head of Whatsapp Chris Daniels have both left the company.

Facebook shares were down 1.9% to US$170.17 shortly before the opening bell in New York.

READ: Facebook posts record profits

The changes come a week after Zuckerberg promised to make Facebook, and its sister apps Instagram and Whatsapp, into more of a “privacy-focused platform”.

Although no official reason has been given for their exits, Cox, who was one of Facebook’s earliest employees and tipped to succeed Zuckerberg should he ever step down, reportedly disagreed with the billionaire over the integration of the firm’s messaging apps.

Similarly, Daniels, who had only been in his role for a year, was also said to be unhappy with Zuckerberg’s plans.

“Embarking on this new vision represents the start of a new chapter for us,” the founder and chief executive wrote in a note to employees.

“While it is sad to lose such great people, this also creates opportunities for more great leaders who are energized about the path ahead to take on new and bigger roles.”

‘Outstanding executives’

Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz said Zuckerberg was “genuinely committed to privacy in general…so much so, that he is willing to lose outstanding executives who disagree with this direction”.

Nothing — literally not a single thing — in @facebook’s history supports the notion that Zuckerberg believes in privacy.

To the contrary. @facebook has a long history of making vaporware announcements to escape public pressure, only to never implement it.

— andreasgal (@andreasgal) March 15, 2019

Daniels will be replaced by Will Cathcart, who currently in charge of Facebook’s app. There are no immediate plans to replace Cox, with Javier Olivan to oversee the strategy for Facebook’s family of apps on his own.

In September, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned as chief executive officer and chief technical officer of the photo-sharing app.

Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp, left in April last year.

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Fri, 15 Mar 2019 11:26:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216553/facebook-shares-drop-as-two-more-senior-execs-depart-216553.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook intentionally breached data privacy and competition law, according to UK lawmakers ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/214819/facebook-intentionally-breached-data-privacy-and-competition-law-according-to-uk-lawmakers-214819.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) intentionally breached data privacy and competition law and should, along with other big tech companies, be subject to a new regulator to protect democracy and citizens' rights, UK lawmakers said on Monday.

Publishing its final report on “Disinformation and ‘fake news’”, the UK parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee said tech firms had proved ineffective in stopping harmful content on their platforms.

READ: Facebook posts record profits as it shrugs off scandal-filled year

The report singled out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for what it said was a failure of leadership and personal responsibility

In a statement on the committee’s website, its chairman Damian Collins said: "We need a radical shift in the balance of power between the platforms and the people."

He added: "The rights of the citizen need to be established in statute, by requiring the tech companies to adhere to a code of conduct written into law by Parliament, and overseen by an independent regulator.”

Facebook rejected the suggestion it had breached data protection and competition laws and said it shared the committee's concerns about false news and election integrity.

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Mon, 18 Feb 2019 10:40:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/214819/facebook-intentionally-breached-data-privacy-and-competition-law-according-to-uk-lawmakers-214819.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook posts record profits as it shrugs off scandal-filled year ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/213723/facebook-posts-record-profits-as-it-shrugs-off-scandal-filled-year-213723.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) posted record fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ expectations as the social media giant shrugged off a year of scandals that hurt its public reputation.

The company said profit rose to US$6.88bn in the final three months of 2018 from US$4.27bn a year ago as revenue increased 30% to US$16.64bn.

READ: Facebook demands UK government returns cache of internal documents

Daily active users and active users both grew 9% compared to a year ago.

The group estimates it has 2 billion active users across all its apps including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street, its shares were up 11.9% to U$168.31 each.

The results cap off a challenging year for Facebook.

A scandal-filled year 

Among one of the most publicised scandals was a data breach affecting 50 million Facebook users in September.

Facebook was also slapped with a lawsuit from Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, for featuring scam advertisements that used his name and image. Lewis dropped the lawsuit earlier this month.

In another blow to the social media firm, it had to remove 364 pages and accounts linked to employees of Russian news agency Sputnik from its platform after some of them posted “anti-Nato sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption".

Facebook had said the accounts were created to "mislead others about who they were and what they were doing."

READ: Facebook reports higher 3Q EPS and revenue, with daily and monthly users up 10%

On Wednesday, it emerged that Facebook paid children as young as 13 to install an app that gave the company access to everything their phone sent or received over the internet.

In response, Apple has revoked Facebook’s ability to publish certain apps. It accused Facebook of exploiting a loophole in its privacy regulations to publish the iPhone app, which was used to assess what trends young people are following.  

Facebook has vowed to invest in staff and new technology to address concerns about data protection and manipulation.

'We've changed', says Zuckerberg 

In a conference call with investors after the fourth quarter results, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he had “fundamentally changed how we run this company” and suggested the firm would be able to refocus on product development in 2019 with new innovations in messaging, payments, groups, video and hardware.

Zuckerberg confirmed Facebook was considering plans to integrate messaging platforms WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger but that it would be a long term project.

“Facebook might have delivered its weakest quarterly revenue growth since listing in 2012, but these numbers are actually some of the most reassuring in its short history,” said George Salmon, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The way that I feel starting 2019 is that we have clear roadmaps looking at what we need to do,” Zuckerberg said. “I do feel like we’ve started to turn a corner and have a clear plan for what we need to do now.”

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Thu, 31 Jan 2019 12:38:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/213723/facebook-posts-record-profits-as-it-shrugs-off-scandal-filled-year-213723.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook demands UK government returns cache of internal documents ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209936/facebook-demands-uk-government-returns-cache-of-internal-documents-209936.html The UK parliament has made the most of its rarely-used legal powers to seize a cache of Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) internal documents.

It is part of MPs’ attempts to hold the US social media giant to account after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg refused to fly in and answer their questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

READ: Facebook fined £500k by UK watchdog for Cambridge Analytica data breach

The documents included information about Facebook’s privacy controls, according to the Observer, which was the first outlet to report the story, including confidential emails to and from Zuckerberg himself.

In an unusual move, the UK’s serjeant-at-arms was sent to a London hotel where an executive of US tech firm Six4Three was staying.

The executive was told to hand over the documents. When he refused, he was escorted to parliament and warned he could be fined and imprisoned if the papers were not surrendered.

Six4Three is involved in court action against Facebook in the US, where the documents were obtained through legal procedures.

Facebook has demanded that the documents be returned and told the Observer: “The materials obtained by the DCMS committee are subject to a protective order of the San Mateo Superior Court restricting their disclosure.

Legal battle

“We have asked the DCMS committee to refrain from reviewing them and to return them to counsel or to Facebook.”

But Damian Collins, the chair of the culture, media and sport select committee, hit back and claimed that the documents might provide answers to questions to which Facebook had so far been unable or unwilling to answer.

“This is an unprecedented move but it’s an unprecedented situation,” he said.

“We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest.”

Facebook, which has lost more than US$100bn in value since March when the Cambridge Analytica scandal was initially exposed, were up 1% to US$131.73 in pre-market trade in New York.

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Mon, 26 Nov 2018 13:15:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209936/facebook-demands-uk-government-returns-cache-of-internal-documents-209936.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook donating £4.5mln ($5.8mln) to train local journalists in the UK ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209476/facebook-donating-45mln-58mln-to-train-local-journalists-in-the-uk-209476.html Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is donating £4.5mln ($5.8mln) to train journalists in the UK to support communities that have lost local newspapers and reporters, according to media reports.

The social media giant said it recognised the role it played in how people got their news and it wanted to do more to support local publishers.

READ: Johnston Press bought by its bondholders after filing for bankruptcy protection on Friday

Around 80 new trainee reporters funded by Facebook will be recruited by regional publishers Newsquest, JPIMedia, Reach, Archant and the Midland News Association, in a scheme overseen by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), Reuters quoted Facebook as saying.

Facebook said the two-year pilot - a global first for the platform - did not signal any move to start producing its own news content.

On Friday, UK newspaper group Johnston Press PLC (LON:JPR) – publisher of the ‘I’ national newspaper as well as The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post -  filed for administration and agreed to be bought by its bondholders after it concluded its equity had no value.

Newspaper groups have been struggling in the current environment in no little part due to news consumption switching online to Facebook.

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Mon, 19 Nov 2018 13:31:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209476/facebook-donating-45mln-58mln-to-train-local-journalists-in-the-uk-209476.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook referred by UK information watchdog to Europe’s lead data regulator to look at its user monitoring and targeting ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208642/facebook-referred-by-uk-information-watchdog-to-europes-lead-data-regulator-to-look-at-its-user-monitoring-and-targeting-208642.html Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has been referred by the UK information watchdog to the lead regulator under Europe’s data regime to look at how the social network targets, monitors and shows adverts to its users, according to Reuters

The UK Information Commissioner has been investigating the use of data analytics to influence politics after consultancy Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of 87mln Facebook users from a researcher.

READ: Facebook reports higher 3Q EPS and revenue, with daily and monthly users up 10%

The Reuters report noted that the UK watchdog said that as part of that inquiry, it had also found broader issues at Facebook, which it had referred to Ireland’s data regulator, the lead supervisor for the social network in the European Union.

Last month, the UK Commissioner slapped the highest possible fine of £500,000 ($653,800) on Facebook for the misuse of data but said on Tuesday, it was referring other outstanding issues to Ireland.

User accounts blocked

The report came as Reuters also said that Facebook had blocked about 115 user accounts after US authorities tipped it off to suspicious behaviour that may be linked to a foreign entity.

The news agency pointed out that the social media giant said in a blog post on Monday - hours before US voters headed to the polls for crucial mid-term elections – that it needed to do further analysis to decide if the accounts are linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency or another group.

It added the company said that 85 of the removed accounts were posting in English on Facebook’s Instagram service, and 30 more were on Facebook and associated with pages in French and Russian.

The US has accused the Russian government body of meddling in its politics with social media posts meant to spread disinformation.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2018 09:53:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208642/facebook-referred-by-uk-information-watchdog-to-europes-lead-data-regulator-to-look-at-its-user-monitoring-and-targeting-208642.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook opens pop-up store in Macy's in New York City and 8 other cities ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208556/facebook-opens-pop-up-store-in-macy-s-in-new-york-city-and-8-other-cities-208556.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said on Monday it is opening its first pop-up business in nine Marcy's locations in the United States.

The pop-ups will bring 100 of the most-loved small businesses and digital-native brands on Facebook and Instagram into retail stores for the holiday shopping season, a Facebook statement said. The pop-ups will be in The Market @ Macy’s in New York City, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle from November 5 and through early February.

FAANG Report: Facebook accused of misleading brands

"The Market @ Macy's will help emerging and established brands reach new audiences by showcasing them in a physical space inside Macy's," the Facebook statement said.

Many of the brands appearing in Macy's Herald Square, New York City location will be celebrated in an ad campaign running in New York City's Grand Central Station.

The campaign will inspire shoppers to visit The Market @ Macy's to shop brands like Two Blind Brothers, Love Your Melon, Bespoke Post and Charleston Gourmet Burger Company.

Facebook is a social media and networking giant. The company is based in Menlo Park, California.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on rene.pastor@proactiveinvestors.com

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Mon, 05 Nov 2018 13:59:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208556/facebook-opens-pop-up-store-in-macy-s-in-new-york-city-and-8-other-cities-208556.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook reports higher 3Q EPS and revenue, with daily and monthly users up 10% ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208170/facebook-reports-higher-3q-eps-and-revenue-with-daily-and-monthly-users-up-10-208170.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) reported higher third quarter earnings per share (EPS) and revenue as the number of users increased by at least 10%, even as the social media giant was rocked by privacy scandals over the last few months.

The company said EPS in the third quarter came in at $1.76 on net income of $5.137 billion, compared with EPS in the same quarter last year of $1.59 on net income of $4.704 billion. The consensus EPS was at $1.47. Revenue clocked in at $13.727 billion, up 33% from the $10.142 billion in the year-ago quarter. The consensus though was at $13.78 billion.

READ: Facebook fined £500k by UK watchdog over Cambridge Analytica data breach

Revenue in the first three quarters of 2018 was at $38.92 billion, sharply up from the $27.681 billion in the same period a year ago. EPS stood at $5.26 on net income of $15.229 billion, against an EPS in the same period last year of $4.02 on net income of $11.652 billion.

Facebook's daily active users stood at 1.49 billion on average for September 2018, an increase of 9% year-over-year. The monthly active users stood at 2.27 billion as of September 30, 2018, an increase of 10% year-over-year.

READ: Facebook earnings preview: expect a year-over-year decline, according to Wall Street

Shares of the company rose in the Wednesday premarket by 5.4% to $154.11, having settled 2.91% higher on Tuesday at $146.22.

Facebook has been rocked by a series of privavy scandals, ranging from Cambridge Analytica to the 30 million users whose accounts were hacked. 

Facebook is based in Menlo Park, California.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on rene.pastor@proactiveinvestors.com

 

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Tue, 30 Oct 2018 16:34:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208170/facebook-reports-higher-3q-eps-and-revenue-with-daily-and-monthly-users-up-10-208170.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook earnings preview: expect a year-over-year decline, according to Wall Street ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208075/facebook-earnings-preview-expect-a-year-over-year-decline-according-to-wall-street-208075.html It's been a tough quarter for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and analysts are predicting a loss when it releases third-quarter earnings. 

Tuesday's earnings follow a slew of critical headlines, which include security breaches affecting millions of Facebook users. 

According to analysts, it's expected that Facebook will report adjusted earnings around US$1.47 per share.

READ: Facebook fined £500k by UK watchdog over Cambridge Analytica data breach

That is 8% lower from the year-ago period and its first decline in 13 quarters.

"With core Facebook, current budget allocations are very robust and at record high levels, and the results for future spend intentions and ROI [return-on-investment] perceptions remain very positively skewed," RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a note to clients Monday.

Facebook has been ranked as having the highest return on investment among digital platforms, according to Mahaney. 

It's estimated that revenue will be US$13.78 billion.

RBC forecasts revenue to come in at slightly above consensus. 

 

 

 

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Mon, 29 Oct 2018 22:17:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208075/facebook-earnings-preview-expect-a-year-over-year-decline-according-to-wall-street-208075.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook fined £500k by UK watchdog over Cambridge Analytica data breach ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207841/Facebook-fined-%C2%A3500k-by-UK-watchdog-over-Cambridge-Analytica-data-breach-207841.html Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has been slapped with a £500,000 fine by the UK information watchdog over the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which user data was harvested from millions of its users.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) hit Facebook with the fine - the maximum possible – for "serious breaches of data protection law" and for failing to protect its users’ privacy.

READ: FAANG Report: Facebook removes 8.7 million images of nude children; Google bans "F" word in workplace

The ICO said data belonging to 87mln users – some 1mln believed to be from the UK - was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, which has since been shut down. The information was used to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign.

Facebook broke the law by failing to safeguard people's data and not being transparent about how that data could be harvested, the ICO said.

The fine is the maximum allowed under the Data Protection Act 1998 but is a drop in the ocean for a company like Facebook which is valued at close to US$600bn.

The scandal took place before new EU data protection laws that allow much larger fines came into force.

If the incident had happened after the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation came into force earlier this year, the social networking firm could have received a maximum fine of £17mln or 4% of its global turnover.

"A company of its size and expertise should have known better and it should have done better,” Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, said in a statement.

"We considered these contraventions to be so serious we imposed the maximum penalty under the previous legislation.”

Facebook said in a statement that it was "reviewing" the decision but acknowledged that it could have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica.

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Thu, 25 Oct 2018 11:17:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207841/Facebook-fined-%C2%A3500k-by-UK-watchdog-over-Cambridge-Analytica-data-breach-207841.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Facebook removes 8.7 million images of nude children; Google bans "F" word in workplace ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207781/faang-report-facebook-removes-87-million-images-of-nude-children-google-bans-f-word-in-workplace-207781.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said it has removed 8.7 million images of child nudity by using software to automatically flag the sexualized images that are used by pedophiles, a BBC report said.

Of the 8.7 million images removed, 99% were taken down before any Facebook user had reported them, the social media giant said in the report.

Facebook was heavily criticized in 2017 by the chairman of the House of Commons media committee, Damian Collins, over the prevalence of child sexual abuse material on its platform.

In 2016, the BBC found evidence that pedophiles were sharing obscene images of children via secret Facebook groups.

Facebook shares retreated 2.38% to $150.72 by midsession on Wednesday.

READ: Cannabis short-sellers picked up more than $450M in gains on two-day price weakness, says S3 Partners

Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has banned raunchy language like the "F" word from being shared around the workplace, a report in The Register said.

Those words are being automatically filtered out to prevent staff from seeing them. References to sex acts are no longer allowed in workplace documents and short URLs, the report said.

One worker was quoted in the report as saying: "...it's sensible for people not to swear unnecessarily at each other, but going through and proactively removing obscure links that nobody has ever complained about feels pretty misguided."

Google shares lost 1.13% to $1,091.19.

The US National Institutes of Health announced the addition of Amazon.com Inc's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Amazon Web Services to its Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) Initiative, a report by Forbes said.

The partnership is expected to speed up discoveries in biomedical research, according to Teresa Carlson, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector at AWS.

“We’re committed to providing those researchers participating in the STRIDES Initiative with access to high-value NIH datasets, enabling them to further their research to study, treat and prevent the most devastating diseases,” she said in the report.

Amazon Web Services is a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms-on a paid subscription basis-to governments, companies and individuals. The service allows subscribers to have access to a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet.

Amazon stock dropped 1.6% to $1,740.20.

READ: Tesla shares hit the brakes as earnings release quietly pushed up by a week

The big spending business model of streaming conglomerate Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) is not sustainable, according to a finance professor at New York University in a report by CNBC.

"They borrow money, they make more movies and more original content, they get more subscribers, and then they go to the market to try to push up the market price and then use that to borrow more money," New York University professor Aswath Damodaran said.

"It's not as if they can slow down the production of content once their subscribers hit the cap, because they're training those subscribers almost to expect 20, 25 new shows every year. That's not sustainable," he added.

Shares of Netflix fell 4.33% to $318.73. 

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) was fined $11.4 million by Italy for the practice using product updates to slow down their mobile phones, a report by 9to5Mac said.

Rival Samsung was also slapped with a fine of five million euros ($5.7 million). Apple was hit with an additional five million euro fine for failing to give clients clear information about how to maintain or eventually replace handset batteries. 

The anti-trust body said in a statement that some Apple and Samsung firmware updates “had caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly, thereby accelerating the process of replacing them”.

Apple shares were easier by 0.6% to $221.40.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on rene.pastor@proactiveinvestors.com 

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Wed, 24 Oct 2018 13:02:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207781/faang-report-facebook-removes-87-million-images-of-nude-children-google-bans-f-word-in-workplace-207781.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook looking to acquire cybersecurity firm, according to The Information ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207579/facebook-looking-to-acquire-cybersecurity-firm-according-to-the-information-207579.html In the wake of its recent massive security breach, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is looking to acquire a cybersecurity firm before the end of the year in a bid to protect itself and its users, per a report in The Information.

Facebook has reportedly contacted a number of cybersecurity firms about a possible acquisition, according to sources cited in the story.

The move to bolster its security comes weeks after the social media giant reported that data for as many as 30 million of its users had been hacked as part of a giant security breach.

“Whereas no specific target (large or small, private or public) has been named or identified, it would appear that Facebook’s recent sizeable network breach (30m users impacted) has elevated concerns internally and externally,” wrote Shaul Eyal and Tanner Hoban, Oppenheimer analysts in a note to investors.

READ: Facebook hires former UK deputy Prime Minister as top communications executive

But questions linger about what Facebook would gain by taking over a cybersecurity firm. And Oppenheimer’s Eyal and Hoban point out that past security related transactions such as Google’s $625 million acquisition of Postini back in 2007 haven’t been “characterized as overly successful (to put it mildly)".

“Does Facebook wish to provide its users with an elevated level of security? Is the potential transaction being driven by the board of directors, under some pressure? Does Facebook wish to become a security player?” are some of Eyal and Hoban’s immediate questions in response to the news.

On the list of potential takeover targets are Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW), Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) and Check Point Software Technologies (NASDAQ:CHKP), which could all bolster the security of Facebook’s platform, according to Eyal and Hoban. Other names in the frame include Cyberark Software (NASDAQ:CYBR), Sailpoint Technologies Holdings Inc (NYSE:SAIL) and Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA) as these companies could address the “heightened importance of identity”.

Potential acquisition targets might have the “upper-hand” when it comes to valuations in the competitive cyber-security sector, point out Eyal and Hoban.

And the solutions to Facebook’s security breach could also be addressed by a “handful of vendors offering various levels of platforms,” they say.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at ellen@proactiveinvestors.com

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Mon, 22 Oct 2018 09:27:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207579/facebook-looking-to-acquire-cybersecurity-firm-according-to-the-information-207579.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook hires former UK deputy Prime Minister as top communications executive ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207500/facebook-hires-former-uk-deputy-prime-minister-as-top-communications-executive-207500.html In the latest twist to the Facebook (NASDAQ':FB) story, the social networking giant has hired a well-known UK political heavyweight - Nick Clegg - as its head of global affairs and communications.

Clegg, 51,  was the deputy Prime-Minister under David Cameron when the Liberal Democrats were in a coalition government with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015. 

He will report to Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who, along with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg,  reportedly played a big part in the appointment.

He replaces Elliott Schrage and the job starts on Monday. He will relocate with his family to Silicon Valley within months.

Clegg is highly familiar with European politics and has been a big opponent of Brexit- the UK's decision to leave the EU.

He is a  former European Commission trade negotiator and former member of the European Parliament and commentators have suggested that Facebook may want to use him as leverage in Brussels.

The firm has had a hard time in recent years and has faced growing scrutiny from European regulators.

There was outrage concerning the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, as the small firm was accused of accessing information on tens of millions of Facebook users.

There have also been allegations that Russian-backed propagandists had exploited the social network for election meddling.

In the past year, highly visible executives have left or announced their departures from Facebook, including the co-founders of Instagram and WhatsApp.

Mr Schrage has also gone and Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, Clegg took to Facebook today to write: "Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook's apps but to society at large.

"I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey," he wrote.

Shares in Facebook nudged up 0.019% to $155.

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Fri, 19 Oct 2018 12:33:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207500/facebook-hires-former-uk-deputy-prime-minister-as-top-communications-executive-207500.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook names new head of Instagram a week after co-founders of photo-sharing app resign ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206130/facebook-names-new-head-of-instagram-a-week-after-co-founders-of-photo-sharing-app-resign-206130.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced on Monday that long-time company executive Adam Mosseri will be the new head of Instagram after its co-founders resigned last week because of disagreements with Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg over the direction of the photo-sharing app.

In a statement posted on the Info Center of Instagram, co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced the appointment of Mosseri as its new head, effective on Monday, October 1.

FAANG Report: Amazon's market cap could hit $1.5 trillion in two years; Instagram founders abandon Facebook

"We are pleased to announce that Adam Mosseri, our current Vice President of Product, will become the Head of Instagram starting today," the statement by Systrom and Krieger said.

"In his role leading Instagram, Adam will oversee all functions of the business and will recruit a new executive team including a head of engineering, head of product and head of operations."

Mosseri has been Instagram's head of product since early in 2018 and had previously led Facebook's News Feed division. He joined Facebook as a product designer in 2008.

Facebook shares were down 1.3% at $162.32 late on Monday.

 

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Mon, 01 Oct 2018 14:34:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206130/facebook-names-new-head-of-instagram-a-week-after-co-founders-of-photo-sharing-app-resign-206130.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Facebook may be fined $1.63B by EU over data breach; Netflix to let you choose ending of your show ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206125/faang-report-facebook-may-be-fined-163b-by-eu-over-data-breach-netflix-to-let-you-choose-ending-of-your-show-206125.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) may be looking at a fine of as much as $1.63 billion from a European Union privacy watchdog for a data breach last week affecting 50 million users, a report by the Wall Street Journal said.

The social media giant admitted that hackers compromised the accounts of 50 million people and regulators will looking to see if Facebook violated the EU"s strict new privacy law.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, said on Saturday that it has demanded more information from the company about the nature and scale of the breach, including which EU residents might be affected, the report said.

Facebook shares were off by 1.85% to $161.41 by midsession on Monday.

READ: Facebook says hacking attack hit almost 50 million accounts

Iconic motorcycle company Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) will be selling its apparel and riding gear on Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), a report by CNBC said. 

The retailer is turning to the world's biggest online retailer as it struggles with its fourth straight year of declining sales.

Baby boomers have scaled back their purchases of new Harleys and the motorcycle company has been looking to entice younger customers with newer bikes and sleek apparel, the report said.

Shares of Amazon were weaker by 0.7% to $2,016.93.

Streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) is going to let customers decide how their favorite show will end, a report by Bloomberg said.

The streaming service is developing a slate of specials that will let viewers choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie, the report quoted people familiar with the matter said. Viewers will get to choose their own storylines in one episode of the upcoming season of “Black Mirror,” the Emmy-winning science-fiction anthology series.

The show is famous for exploring the social implications of technology, including an episode where humans jockey to receive higher ratings from their peers. 

The foray into choose-your-own-adventure programming represents a big bet on a nascent form of entertainment known as interactive TV, the report said.

Netflix shares went up 2.28% to $382.65. 

READ: Apple introduces three new super-powered iPhones

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) has remained silent about complaints that its new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max smartphone are not charging consistently when they are plugged in, a report by the BBC said.

Several users have reported that their device refuses to charge if it has been idle for a while. Some charge only if the display is "woken up," according to the report.

While the 2017 iPhone X charged without problem, many of the new XS and XS Max phones refused to charge when plugged in, the BBC added.

Apple shares increased 0.9% $227.77.

Alphabet Inc's Google Maps (NASDAQ:GOOG) is rolling out a commute feature for its Android and iOS apps containing extra information to help with the trip to and from work, a report by Cnet said.

The new section will show details for each leg of your journey, including disruptions to traffic and to bus or train departures, the report quoted Google as saying on Monday.

If there are delays, the app will suggest alternative routes. Android users will also get notifications about delays on a route as they happen. If you don't want Google to be aware of your commute route, you can hide that data by toggling your settings.

Google shares edged up 0.24% to $1,196.29.

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Mon, 01 Oct 2018 12:53:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206125/faang-report-facebook-may-be-fined-163b-by-eu-over-data-breach-netflix-to-let-you-choose-ending-of-your-show-206125.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook says hacking attack hit almost 50 million accounts ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206017/facebook-says-hacking-attack-hit-almost-50-million-accounts-206017.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said on Friday it has discovered an attack that exploited a vulnerability in the code, affecting almost 50 million accounts and hit another 40 million people.

"It’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted 'View As', a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts," Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice-president of product management, announced in a company blog post.

Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.

Facebook's engineering team discovered the attack on Tuesday, September 25, and the company said they have informed law enforcement.

READ: Facebook Stories hits 300M Daily Active Users and welcomes advertisers to the feature

"We have reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts we know were affected to protect their security. We’re also taking the precautionary step of resetting access tokens for another 40 million accounts that have been subject to a 'View As' look-up in the last year," Rosen said.

"As a result, around 90 million people will now have to log back in to Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook Login. After they have logged back in, people will get a notification at the top of their News Feed explaining what happened," he added.

The “View As” feature hit by the attack has also been turned off.

"Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed. We also don’t know who’s behind these attacks or where they’re based. We’re working hard to better understand these details," Rosen explained.

Hundreds of millions of people have accounts in the social media giant. Facebook is based in Menlo Park, California.

Shares of Facebook were down 3.6% to $162.74 by midsession on Friday.

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Fri, 28 Sep 2018 13:18:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206017/facebook-says-hacking-attack-hit-almost-50-million-accounts-206017.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook Stories hits 300M Daily Active Users and welcomes advertisers to the feature ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/205793/facebook-stories-hits-300m-daily-active-users-and-welcomes-advertisers-to-the-feature-205793.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Stories and Messenger Stories have hit the 300 million daily active users (DAU) mark, nearly double the number of Snapchat’s DAUs.

Similar to snaps on Snapchat, stories on Facebook are images that disappear after 24 hours instead of staying posted on a user’s profile. Facebook Stories are automatically posted on its Messenger app.

READ: FAANG Report: Amazon's market cap could hit $1.5 trillion in two years; Instagram founders abandon Facebook

In comparison, Snap Inc’s (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat reported 181 million DAUs in its second-quarter earnings report.

With millions of users utilizing the Stories feature, the social media giant announced plans to let advertisers in on the fun as well.

“Advertising in stories has proven to drive valuable business outcomes,” said Facebook in a blog post on its site.

The company noted that 62% of people said they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story, citing a survey from market researcher Ipsos.

KFC, iHeartRadio and Kettle Chips have tested out the service and seen a positive response to their brands, according to the post.

The Ipsos survey found that more than half of the people surveyed said they were more likely to make an online purchase after seeing the product on stories.

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Wed, 26 Sep 2018 14:56:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/205793/facebook-stories-hits-300m-daily-active-users-and-welcomes-advertisers-to-the-feature-205793.html
<![CDATA[News - Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before US House Committee after Justice Department threatens investigation into Twitter and Facebook ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/204238/twitter-ceo-jack-dorsey-testifies-before-us-house-committee-after-justice-department-threatens-investigation-into-twitter-and-facebook-204238.html Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sat for a grilling from Congress this afternoon.

Dorsey delivered lengthy testimony before the House Energy and Commerce committee to fend off charges of bias against the social media group. He also delivered something of a lecture about what Twitter is doing to crack down on disinformation campaigns, election meddling and problems ranging from cyber-bullying to the company's emergency outreach efforts during Hurricane Harvey.

The hearing adopted a more political mood than the Senate hearing this morning, with Congressman Pete Welch of Vermont complaining that the session was being held to address President Trump’s specious charges of anti-conservative bias on the part of social media groups.

President Trump has recently taken aim at Twitter, Facebook and Google, accusing them of political prejudice and saying just last month that they are “treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful”.

A question was put to Dorsey from Greg Walden, the Republican chairman of the House committee about the extent to which the company's algorithms could squelch conservative opinions voiced via Twitter.

Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, also accused Twitter of discriminating against conservatives.

But Dorsey fended off charges of bias from the contentious crowd.

“Let me be clear about one important and foundational fact: Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules,” Dorsey said in his opening remarks which he read from his mobile phone.

“We believe strongly in being impartial and we strive to enforce our rules impartially. We do not shadowban anyone based on political ideology,” he added. “In fact from a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform.”

Dorsey's testimony came after the Justice Department revealed it had arranged meetings with state attorneys general to discuss concerns that Facebook, Google and Twitter are “hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas”.

The Justice department said it had listen closely to today’s Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in which Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were called to Capitol Hill to defend their failure to prevent cyber attacks from Russia on their platforms ahead of the last presidential election.

In a statement, the Justice Department said Attorney General Jeff Sessions “has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.”

11:00 AM: Facebook and Twitter chieftains face questions in US Senate over foreign influence peddling

In the Senate hearing earlier in the day, Dorsey and Sandberg were contrite about their companies' responses to the Russian cyber-attack on the 2016 presidential election this morning in delivering their testimonies before US senators who are orchestrating an investigation into the matter.

The pair of executives both apologized to leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee for failing to fully address the attacks by Russia on their platforms ahead of the US presidential election two years ago.

“We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act. This is on us,” Sandberg said at the Senate hearing. “This interference was completely unacceptable.”

Dorsey was similiarly apologetic in his testimony. “We acknowledge the real world negative consequences of what happened and take full responsibility to fix it,” he said.

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee extended an olive branch to both Sandberg and Dorsey after the Senate hearing kicked off at 9:30 and praised both Facebook and Twitter's efforts to bring an end to recent examples of foreign meddling arising on their platforms.

“My instinct is to applaud the diligence of your security teams and credit you with taking the problem seriously,” Committee chairman Richard Burr, a Republican of North Carolina, said.

Investors responded poorly, however, to the Congressional hearings which revealed social media platforms' vulnerability to hacking and data breaches.

The tech-laden Nasdaq composite tumbled 1.3% lower in the wake of Dorsey and Sandberg's testimony. Twitter shares dropped 1.9%, while Facebook lost 1.3%, and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) shed 2.1%.

Alphabet Inc's Google was invited to participate in today’s discussions, but no senior executive from the search engine came to Washington to testify.

READ: FAANG Report: Facebook's private groups a home for fringe figures; EU looks at law mandating local content

Burr had asked Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai or Alphabet’s CEO Larry Page to appear before the committee. Both declined, however, and the Senators were not satisfied with the company’s move to put forth general counsel Kent Walker as its representative.

In the interim, Google has posted Walker’s prepared testimony on its website.

“We have continued our efforts and work diligently to identify and remove actors from our products who mislead others regarding their identity,” Walker said in his statement. “We’ve continued to investigate activity by the Internet Research Agency and other Russia-affiliated entities since we testified before the Committee last year.”

Today’s hearing marks the second attempt by the Senate intelligence committee in the last year to arrange a discussion about the extent to which Facebook, Twitter and Google can influenced by foreign players.

And Facebook and other tech companies have disclosed in recent months a number of attempts whereby foreign governments have attempted to peddle misinformation via their platforms.

Facebook revealed, for example, in July that it had taken down a series of accounts that were attempting to gain political traction and had ties to the Russian government.

Just last month, Facebook and Twitter also both shut down accounts used for political disinformation that came from Iran.

Working with our industry peers today, we have suspended 284 accounts from Twitter for engaging in coordinated manipulation. Based on our existing analysis, it appears many of these accounts originated from Iran.

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 22, 2018

Dorsey will also make an additional appearance at 1:30 pm before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss how his company acts as a moderator for online content.

Both hearings can be watched in real time via the Senate Intelligence Committee website and the House Energy and Commerce committee website.

-- Updated with details of live testimony. Please check back as the story is ongoing. --

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Wed, 05 Sep 2018 08:40:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/204238/twitter-ceo-jack-dorsey-testifies-before-us-house-committee-after-justice-department-threatens-investigation-into-twitter-and-facebook-204238.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Facebook's private groups a home for fringe figures; EU looks at law mandating local content ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/204161/faang-report-facebook-s-private-groups-a-home-for-fringe-figures-eu-looks-at-law-mandating-local-content-204161.html Fringe, extremist figures have found a refuge in the private groups of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) where they can post hate content such as attacks against Muslims and transgender people among others, The New York Times reported. 

This was exemplified by Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars who was suspended for repeated violations of bullying and hate speech. A private Infowars Facebook group which has 110,000 followers survived the crackdown against Jones.

Facebook chief executive Mark zukerberg is building a physical war room at their Menlo Park, California, headquarters to snuff out interference in the US midterm elections, a report by Business Insider said.

In other news, slowing growth and rising regulation led to a downgrade in Facebook stock, a report by CNBC said.

Shares of Facebook fell 2.5% to US$171.22.

FAANG Report: Facebook calls for tech summit on 2018 election meddling; Apple pirates Tesla employees

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) will be forced to dedicate a portion of their catalog to local TV shows and films under proposals said to be close to becoming law in the European Union, a report by AppleInsider said.

The proposal would require services such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, among others, to ensure at least 30% of their on-demand catalogs are produced within Europe, though this could be raised to a minimum of 40% by individual countries, the report said.

Roberto Viola, in charge of the European Commission's department that regulates communications networks, content, and technology, advised the new rules are on the path to be approved by December.

The proposal may also cover Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which is planning to bundle music, news and other content in its services. The proposed law could force Apple to consider increasing its overseas investment in content.

Apple stock crawled up 0.1% to US$227.71, having hit a record peak at US$228.94 on Tuesday.

Netflix stock slipped 0.6% to US$365.38.

Amazon.com shares gained 0.9% to US42,030.74, also touching a record high of US$2,034.19.

FAANG Report: Trump raises specter of anti-trust against Facebook, Google and Amazon; Apple stock rallies 

Alphabet Inc's (Google) and Facebook were harshly criticized by Europe's biggest news agencies of "plundering" news for free as they called on the internet giants to share more of their revenues with the media, a report by PhysOrg said.

In a column signed by the CEOs of around 20 agencies including France's Agence France-Presse, Britain's Press Association and Germany's Deutsche Presse-Agentur they called on the European Parliament to update copyright law in the EU to help address a "grotesque imbalance".

Google shares were down 1.5% to US$1,200.29.

 

 

 

 

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Tue, 04 Sep 2018 11:05:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/204161/faang-report-facebook-s-private-groups-a-home-for-fringe-figures-eu-looks-at-law-mandating-local-content-204161.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook shares slump after downgrade by MoffettNathanson ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/204160/facebook-shares-slump-after-downgrade-by-moffettnathanson-204160.html Shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) dropped on Tuesday after an analyst from media specialist brokerage MoffettNathanson downgraded the stock, saying shares will come under pressure from slowing growth, a report by CNBC said.

MoffettNathanson lowered its rating to neutral from buy, predicting Facebook will generate earnings below expectations this year, the report said.

"Facebook is increasingly under the eye of global politicians and regulators, which will force the company to become more aggressive on spending to show contrition," analyst Michael Nathanson said in a note to clients. "The deceleration in growth, coupled with continued regulatory scrutiny, is a toxic brew for any stock." 

Shares of Facebook were down 2.4% to US$171.55.

READ: Facebook launches Watch video-streaming service worldwide

Nathanson lowered his price target for Facebook shares to US$175 from US$200, the CNBC report said.

"We do not see outsized performance on the horizon as Facebook's core platform is maturing and monetizing Stories may not be the runaway success needed in the near-term to pick up the slack," he said. "Further, expenses are expected to stay elevated as Facebook plays catch-up to secure and refresh its platform."

As a result, he reduced his Facebook 2019 earnings per share estimate to US$7.90 from the consensus above US$8.

MoffettNathanson is an independent sell-side research firm. CNBC said the company is closely watched by the market in the media and telecom space.

 

 

 

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Tue, 04 Sep 2018 10:57:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/204160/facebook-shares-slump-after-downgrade-by-moffettnathanson-204160.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Trump raises specter of anti-trust against Facebook, Google and Amazon; Apple stock rallies ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203993/faang-report-trump-raises-specter-of-anti-trust-against-facebook-google-and-amazon-apple-stock-rallies-203993.html US President Donald Trump upped his barrage of criticism against giant American technology companies, accusing Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Alphabet's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) of being in a "very antitrust situation" but refusing to say whether they should be broken up, a report by Bloomberg said.

Under the law, the US can break up companies abusing their position to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers.

Trump had been on the attack since Tuesday when he claimed without providing evidence that Google's news search function favored liberal over conservative outlets, even though outfits such as Politifact called the charge "false."

Google rejected the accusation, saying there is no political ideology promoted in its search windows.

#StopTheBias pic.twitter.com/xqz599iQZw

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018  

Google shares were down 0.37% at US1,234.50.

Facebook stock fell 1.1% to US$175.71.

Shares of Amazon though shrugged off the attack by rising 0.9% to US$2,020.34. Earlier in the week, it hit an all-time high of US$2,025.57 as Morgan Stanley forecast it would become the second US company with a trillion dollar valuation after Apple.

FAANG Report: Trump claims Google suppressing good news about him; Amazon in new Canada prime plan 

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock rumbled to an all-time peak on Friday after the iPhone behemoth announced it would host an event on September 12 at its Cupertino, California, campus where it is widely expected to unveil new iPhone models, a report by the Guardian said. 

Intense speculation has been swirling about the new iPhones, with most expecting up to three new models will be launched. Apple's event invitation made heavy use of the color gold, stoking talk the company plans to launch a gold-colored successor to the iPhone X, which was made in silver and grey last year, the report said.

For cultural reasons, gold is particularly appealing to potential customers in China and also India, the two countries that are the biggest consumers of gold in the world.

Apple shares touched a record high of US$228.87 and were trading 1.5% stronger at US$228.46.

READ: Apple expected to unveil three new iPhone models on September 12

The Venice Film Festival market is the place to be for online streaming giant Netflix and rival Amazon.com, where they not only launched movies but were also there to get business done, a report by entertainment publication Variety said.

Netflix has six films premiering in Venice and has the largest contingent of executives of about a dozen, the report said. Netflix had skipped the Cannes festival in May because their films were shut out from competition there.

Netflix stock increased 0.95 to US$374.43. 

 

 

 

 

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Fri, 31 Aug 2018 10:27:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203993/faang-report-trump-raises-specter-of-anti-trust-against-facebook-google-and-amazon-apple-stock-rallies-203993.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Facebook staff complains about 'liberal' culture; little Trump can do about Google's 'bias' ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203817/faang-report-facebook-staff-complains-about-liberal-culture-little-trump-can-do-about-google-s-bias--203817.html Conservative employees at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have formed an internal group to complain the liberal company is intolerant of opposing political thought, a report by the New York Times said. The new group is called 'FBers for Political Diversity' and was created last week. Facebook engineer Brian Amerige had written an internal post that claimed the company is a "political monoculture" that is quick to attack "anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology." The report came after US President Donald Trump accused Alphabet's Google of bias in hiding 'good news' about his administration's accomplishments.

Facebook has also rolled out its Watch service globally, building out the roster of exclusive TV by spending as much as US$1bn on original content, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Shares of the social media company were off almost 0.5% to US$175.44.

FAANG Report: Trump claims Google suppressing good news about him; Amazon in new Canada prime plan

Trump's call for action against Alphabet's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other internet companies is likely to run up against a hard fact in that there may be little he or Congress can do, a report by Bloomberg said. The government has few means to dictate to publishers and online curators what news to present, although their executives will be questioned in Congress on Trump's claim the search news engine is rigging the results, the report said. Larry Downes, project director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, said any attempt will run into "a gigantic First Amendment problem" because the US Constitution protects freedom of the press.

Google's stock was trading 1.1% higher at US$1,244.85.

Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) first attempt to cover the US Open tennis tournament was roundly blasted as "a complete embarrassment" because the quality of the picture and sound were poor, a CNN Tech report said. Of the nearly 700 reviews on Amazon's website, some 82% gave the product a one-star rating. Many users complained about the inability to record matches. 

Amazon shares climbed nearly 2% to US$1,968.08.

READ: Amazon upgrade by Morgan Stanley could make it second US company with US$1 trillion valuation 

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) is telling its actors to stop using the term "binge-watching", a report by BGR said.  The streaming service may want to extricate the network from being associated with the word because of its association with such terms as 'binge-eating' or 'binge-drinking', the report said.

Netflix shares fell 0.4% to US$367.03. 

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is releasing new iPhones later in the year, but no one knows what it will be called, a report by The Independent said. Naming the phone appears to be difficult because of the complicated naming scheme Apple has given to its current lineup, the report added.

Shares of Apple were higher by 0.75% to US$221.37.

 

 

 

  

 

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Wed, 29 Aug 2018 11:01:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203817/faang-report-facebook-staff-complains-about-liberal-culture-little-trump-can-do-about-google-s-bias--203817.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Facebook calls for tech summit on 2018 election meddling; Apple pirates Tesla employees ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203592/faang-report-facebook-calls-for-tech-summit-on-2018-election-meddling-apple-pirates-tesla-employees-203592.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is calling for a summit with other tech giants such as Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) to talk about their plans to prevent foreign influence and disinformation campaigns in the US midterm elections this November, a report by BuzzFeed News said.

The companies are planning to hold a private meeting on Friday to share their tactics in preparation for the elections. Facebook's head of cybersecurity, Nathaniel Gleicher, invited a dozen companies, including Google (NASDAQ:Alphabet) and, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), to gather at Twitter headquarters, the report said in quoting an email by Gleicher it had obtained.

“As I’ve mentioned to several of you over the last few weeks, we have been looking to schedule a follow-on discussion to our industry conversation about information operations, election protection, and the work we are all doing to tackle these challenges,” Gleicher wrote.

Facebook shares were up 0.75% at US$174.22 by midday.

READ: SEC investigates why Facebook didn’t warn investors sooner on privacy lapse

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont will soon introduce legislation that would require large employers like Amazon, Walmart and McDonalds to fully cover the cost of food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal assistance received by their employees, The Washington Post reported.

The goal, according to Sanders, is to force corporations to pay a living wage, given the rising gap between the very rich and the poor in the country, Sanders said.

Amazon.com shares gained 0.5% to US$1,912.91.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) has hired dozens of current and former employees of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) since late in 2017, CNBC reported.

The former employees are not only going to work on the scretive autonomous driving project of Apple but on several other projects as well, the report said. They include manufacturing, security and software engineers. More recently, supply chain experts have joined as well. Apple's vehicle initiative is called Project Titan.

Apple stock was up 0.3% to US$216.13.

READ: Netflix CFO steps down after more than seven years on the job

Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google said it has disabled dozens of YouTube channels and other accounts linked to a state-run Iranian broadcaster running a political influence campaign, a report by ABC News said.

The report said Google disabled 39 YouTube channels, six blogs on Blogger and 13 Google Plus accounts. Google said its forensic research shows the accounts were set up by the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) network.

Google shares rose 1% TO US$1,217.49.

Streaming giant Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock is expected to rise because of its success in international markets, according to a report by CNBC.

The report quoted an upgrade by SunTrust for Netflix shares to a BUY from HOLD, saying trends showed the network will add 5mln additional international subscribers in the current quarter compared with the Wall Street consensus of 4.5mln.

Shares of Netflix were up 4% to US$352.79. 

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Fri, 24 Aug 2018 10:56:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203592/faang-report-facebook-calls-for-tech-summit-on-2018-election-meddling-apple-pirates-tesla-employees-203592.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG REPORT: Facebook uncovers global disinformation campaign; Google says don't blame us for news ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203409/faang-report-facebook-uncovers-global-disinformation-campaign-google-says-don-t-blame-us-for-news-203409.html Social media behemoth Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said it has identified multiple new influence campaigns aimed at misleading people around the world, The New York Times reported. Facebook said it removed 652 fake accounts, pages and groups trying to sow misinformation. The campaigns began in Iran and Russia, and while Americans are still targeted, they were also aimed at people in Latin America, Britain and the Middle East, it said.

Shares of Facebook gained 0.6% to US$173.68.

Search giant Google said it should not be blamed for the state of journalism in the country, ABC News reported. The vice-president of news at Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Richard Gingras, emphasized the company's interest in supporting a healthy media environment.

Google shares were up US$0.55 to US$1,208.

READ: Facebook misses on revenue and daily active users as scandals take their toll

Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) has rolled out a new payment policy so business customers can have more time to pay their bills, CNBC reported. Some sellers though are worried that waiting 30 days for payment instead of getting paid every week or two would put them in a cash crunch, the report said.

Amazon stock added 0.47% to US$1,892.13.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be releasing a new low-cost laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac mini desktop later in 2018, a report by Bloomberg said. The new laptop will have a similar look to the current MacBook Air, but Bloomberg said it will include thinner bezels around the screen.

Apple shares edged up 0.13% to US$215.32.

READ: Netflix CFO steps down after more than seven years on the job

Streaming company Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) will be welcoming the Marvel character Black Panther in two weeks, Movie Web reported. The development comes just four months after the movie debuted on Blu-ray, the report said.

Netflix stock went up 2% to US$345.

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Wed, 22 Aug 2018 09:43:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203409/faang-report-facebook-uncovers-global-disinformation-campaign-google-says-don-t-blame-us-for-news-203409.html
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Apple probed in Japan for anti-competitive behavior; Facebook's Instagram hacked ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/202987/faang-report-apple-probed-in-japan-for-anti-competitive-behavior-facebook-s-instagram-hacked-202987.html Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is under investigation in Japan for anti-competitive behavior while a number of users of Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) Instagram were hacked with a domain name that seemingly originated from Russia.

The Nikkei Asian review reported that Apple is being probed in Japan for anti-competitive behavior. It said Japan is investigating allegations that pressure from Apple forced Yahoo Japan to pull back from a game platform that competes with the App Store, Nikkei has learned.

The publication said Japan's Fair Trade Commission and the industry ministry began receiving reports from Yahoo last fall about issues surrounding its Game Plus platform.

The web-based service, launched in July 2017, lets users play games without needing to download apps. For developers, the service features much looser restrictions surrounding sales, fees and software updates than Apple's App Store.

On a separate matter, CNBC reported that Apple is exploring a custom processor that can make better sense of health information coming off sensors from deep inside its devices, job listings show.

Apple shares were trading in New York up 0.03% to US$209.80. 

READ: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway loads up on Apple, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Goldman Sachs

Facebook's Instagram was hit by a report that several users had been hacked and it seems the people who did so were from Russia.

Mashable reported that according to data from analytics platform Talkwalker, there have been more than 5,000 tweets from 899 accounts mentioning Instagram hacks just in the last seven days. The username and profiles of users were changed with a domain originating from Russia.

Facebook shares were down 1.6% to US$178.18 late in the session.

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX), on the other hand, is flipping the model for making television shows. It plans to pay more up front but keeping more later on big hits, insiders in the network said.

CNBC reported that what Neflix will be doing is different from how networks typically license shows, which often only covers 60% to 70% of production. In the traditional setup, the production company retains the majority of the rights, giving them the opportunity to make money in the future if the show is a hit.

Many users are lured by Netflix because the company has treated its producers well and lets them make the show they want without interference, CNBC said in its report. 

Netflix stock fell 3.4% to US$325.98 in late trade.

READ: Amazon.com Inc. saw its 2017 UK corporation tax bill almost halved despite a near-trebling of profits

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is poised to follow Apple as the next company to have a market cap of US$1 trillion, the Investor's Business Daily reported.

The current market valuation of the company is around US$920bn. The report said the strength of Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing unit, should push the company's value over the US$1 trillion finish line.

Amazon shares retreated 1.8% to US$1,885.19.

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was struck by an Associated Press report that Google services on iPhone and Android devices were storing a user's location information even if the user explicitly enabled a privacy setting to prevent the search giant from doing that.

Google will let you pause the location services in a setting called Location History, the report added.

Alphabet's Google shares were off 1.8% to US$1,219 in late trade on Wednesday.

 

Contact Rene Pastor at rene.pastor@proactiveinvestors.com

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Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:51:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/202987/faang-report-apple-probed-in-japan-for-anti-competitive-behavior-facebook-s-instagram-hacked-202987.html
<![CDATA[News - Stifel gives Facebook shares a Like, adding the social network to its ‘Select List’ ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/202316/stifel-gives-facebook-shares-a-like-adding-the-social-network-to-its-select-list-202316.html Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), which has seen a strong run-up in the value of its shares after posting stellar quarterly performances, is off the Stifel Select List, replaced by social media giant Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB).

The elevation for Facebook came as the stock drove Wall Street higher Monday on a separate report that it was planning to offer new services.

Facebook gained 3.4% after the Wall Street Journal reported the social media giant had asked large US banks to share detailed financial information about their customers, as part of an effort to offer new services to users.

“We are adding Facebook to the Stifel Select List as one of our top internet investment ideas with a 12-month bull-case potential return of +50%, representing greater than 3:1 risk-to-reward,” wrote Stifel analysts Scott W Devitt, John Egbert, Lamont Williams, DL Thomas and Will Carroll.

“We are replacing Amazon with Facebook on the Stifel Select List given strong YTD Amazon performance, though we remain Buy-rated on Amazon shares,” they added.

READ: Facebook unfriended by Wall Street as US$100bn wiped from market value

Facebook shares and investor expectations were materially reset with a painful second quarter. After missing revenue estimates and bearing the brunt of the fallout from a user-data breach scandal, Facebook provided a bleak outlook for user growth prompting a massive sell-off.

CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg warned during a disastrous conference call that an investment in security would impact profitability. He added that revenue growth would slow year over year in the second half of 2018.

“We, like most, were largely taken by surprise with the timing and magnitude of management's forward outlook (Stories, platform investment levels et al.). Despite a ~6-month rollercoaster ride for Facebook investors, we believe that shares and expectations are appropriately set to allow for longer-term outperformance and view near-term issues as transitory,” wrote the Stifel analysts.

“Facebook still owns the world's most dominant social and messaging services, counts 2.5 billion people as monthly users, and is positioned to drive multiple years of 20%+ revenue growth,” they added.

READ: Amazon in prime position among Wall Street analysts after stellar 2Q earnings performance

The analysts said that in a similar way that Google has driven many years of 20%+ annual revenue growth due to core search, YouTube, Google Shopping, and the shift to mobile, “Facebook has its own set of multi-year growth drivers: core Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Watch/Instagram TV, WhatsApp, and Stories (among others).”

“While the comparison is illustrative rather than exact, we like the growth potential,” wrote the analysts.

Investment thesis 

The analysts said Facebook with over 2.5 billion monthly users across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger would command ad revenue.

“Facebook's advertising platform is on track to generate approximately $54 billion of revenue in 2018, a revenue base which we expect to support a +20% revenue CAGR through 2023,” wrote the analysts.

“We view near-term headwinds as transitory and believe Facebook will emerge a safer and more sustainable platform following heightened investment in the business. We think the transition is appropriately reflected in current growth expectations, with potential for future upside from ramping/future monetization of video, Stories, and WhatsApp,” they added.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at uttara@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

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Mon, 06 Aug 2018 14:09:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/202316/stifel-gives-facebook-shares-a-like-adding-the-social-network-to-its-select-list-202316.html
<![CDATA[News - US$100bn wiped from Facebook’s market value amid concerns over future growth ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/201646/us100bn-wiped-from-facebooks-market-value-amid-concerns-over-future-growth-201646.html A warning from Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) top finance boss that revenue growth will “continue to decelerate in the second half of 2018” sent the social media giant’s stock tumbling by more than a fifth in after-hours trading in New York.

Shares had already slipped after Facebook just missed Wall Street estimates on second quarter revenue and user growth.

READ: Facebook misses on revenue and user growth

The Silicon Valley firm reported a 42% year-on-year rise in revenue to US$13.2bn, while the number of monthly active users rose 11% to 1.47bn.

Analysts had been looking for figures of US$13.3bn and 1.49bn, though. Flat growth in the US and Europe, Facebook’s two biggest markets, didn’t help sentiment either.

But the big decline in the stock price came during a conference call. Chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg warned investments in privacy and security would have a “significant impact on profitability” this year.

“We are starting to see that this quarter,” he added.

That investment is part of the billionaire’s promise to tackle election interference, fake news and hate speech – issues which were highlighted by the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year.

Nightmare conference call

Chief finance officer David Wehner was next up on the call. He said: “Our total revenue growth rates will continue to decelerate in the second half of 2018, and we expect our revenue growth rates to decline by high single-digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially in both Q3 and Q4.”

That spooked traders who have become used to seeing Facebook grow revenues, user numbers and profits almost exponentially in recent years.

Once the call was done, shares had plunged by more than 20%, wiping over US$100bn from the company’s market cap and cancelling all of the gains made so far in 2018.

The stock has recovered some of those initial losses, but it is still down 19.5% to US$174.80 in pre-market trading.

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Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:15:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/201646/us100bn-wiped-from-facebooks-market-value-amid-concerns-over-future-growth-201646.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook unfriended by Wall Street as US$100bn wiped from market value ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/201665/facebook-unfriended-by-wall-street-as-us100bn-wiped-from-market-value-201665.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has been unfriended by analysts as the stock fell 20% right after the opening bell, wiping a hefty US$100bn off its market value and sparking concern over the social network's future growth potential.

After missing estimates for second-quarter revenue and the fallout from a user-data breach scandal, the company provided a bleak outlook for user growth late Wednesday, prompting a sell-off that continued into the morning session.

Chief Executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg added fuel to the fire with a disastrous conference call in which he warned that an investment in security would impact profitability. He added that revenue growth would slow year over year in the second half of 2018.

READ: US$100bn wiped from Facebook’s market value amid concerns over future growth

Analysts reacted swiftly to the change in fortune for the social media behemoth, as many lowered their price targets.

Analysts at Oppenheimer decreased their target to $200 from $225 and maintained their Outperform rating citing a "self-inflicted revenue slowdown, combined with higher costs to protect platform." However, they said valuation "remains reasonable."

"As users upload more personal information, this increases Facebook’s competitive position. With the fragmentation of media and communication, we believe consumers will increasingly find media and information through their social graph, positioning FB in the middle of this information exchange," wrote Oppenheimer analysts Jason Helfstein, Alec Brondolo and Jed Kelly. 

"Valuation for high-quality tech asset appears compelling at 20x P/E; as such, we maintain our Outperform rating," they added.

Wells Fargo analyst Ken Sena lowered his price target to US$220 from US$250 after the company's Q2 results missed Street estimates for the first time in 12 quarters, according to TheFly.com.

JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth removed Facebook from the firm's Analyst Focus List and cut his price target to US$205 from US$242, TheFly reported.

Piper Jaffray's Michael Olson joined the crowd and lowered his price target to US$200 from US$250.

Brian Nowak lowered Morgan Stanley's full-year 2019 and 2020 EBITDA estimates by 8% and 9%, respectively.

And Goldman Sachs dropped its price target to US$205 from US$225, according to TheFly.

Getting some 'Likes'

But Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter wrote in a note to clients: “Q2 results generally underwhelmed relative to our expectations, and updated FY:18 guidance was more pessimistic than the Street had expected. Revenue was US$13,231 million, versus our estimate of $13,588 million, and the consensus estimate of US$13,364 million.”

Pachter reiterated a Buy rating with a target of US$250 as the company is still growing users and its other products are still seeing dramatic growth.

Citi analyst Mark May wrote in a note that while Facebook's guidance is disappointing, the valuation at current share levels is too attractive to downgrade his Buy rating. He did lower his price target to US$210 from US$220 but kept a Buy rating, according to TheFly.

Jefferies analyst Brent Thill still has faith in Facebook. He said that the controversies could provide a great buying opportunity, TheFLy reported. He reiterated a Buy rating but with a lowered price target of US$220, down from US$240.

The stock recovered slightly in morning trading, but was down double-digits in midday trade by 19.09% to US$175.95.

-- (Updates with Oppenheimer lowering price target, fresh quotes) -- 

Written by Belinda Robinson for Proactive Investors

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Thu, 26 Jul 2018 09:32:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/201665/facebook-unfriended-by-wall-street-as-us100bn-wiped-from-market-value-201665.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook mulls plan to switch to Google for cloud storage ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/200986/facebook-mulls-plan-to-switch-to-google-for-cloud-storage-200986.html Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is considering a move to switch its cloud storage to Google parent Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) from San Francisco-based cloud storage company Dropbox, reported The Information Tuesday.

Shares in Dropbox Inc (NASDAQ:DBX) declined 1.9% to close at US$31.65.

Today Dropbox has more than 500 million registered users, of whom 11.5 million pay an annual subscription fee for more storage than is offered for free. This includes more than 300,000 paying business customers.

In business trivia, Dropbox caught the attention of the late Steve Jobs, who made an offer for the business in 2011.

READ: Facebook brings augmented reality ads to the news feed

Separately, Facebook is also exploring the idea of tossing out Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and using Google for email and productivity applications, reported The Information.

“If it happens, the move would be more than a typical case of a company switching technology vendors. It would represent a significant reversal for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose aversion to the company's rival Google has been well known inside Facebook for many years,” reported the news website.

The switch is being considered to “soothe long-running frustrations” among Facebook employees over Microsoft’s applications and others — like Salesforce’s Quip, said the report.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at uttara@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive

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Tue, 17 Jul 2018 15:47:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/200986/facebook-mulls-plan-to-switch-to-google-for-cloud-storage-200986.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook brings augmented reality ads to the news feed ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/200609/facebook-brings-augmented-reality-ads-to-the-news-feed-200609.html Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) announced Tuesday it is bringing augmented reality ads to the Facebook news feed and expanding shopping in Instagram Stories to all companies.

These augmented reality ads are in the testing phase, and users in the US will be the only ones who will see them for now.

Michael Kors was the first brand to test out AR ads in Facebook’s news feed, with Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and King planning their own tests for later this summer, reported TechCrunch.

The new AR ad feature allows users to try on the products that are advertised through a process similar to that of a Snapchat filter. The ads look like normal in-feed ads at first, but they include a "Tap to try it on" option, which opens up the AR capabilities.

READ: Facebook is acquiring Bloomsbury AI, says a TechCrunch report

It stands to reason that if users like the way a product looks in AR, they are more likely to go ahead and buy the product.

"People traditionally have to go into stores to do this," Ty Ahmad-Taylor, vice president of product marketing for Facebook's global marketing solutions told TechCrunch. "People still really love that experience, but they would like to try it at home — so this bridges the gap."

Facebook also announced a new Video Creation Kit, which will allow advertisers to incorporate existing images into templates for mobile video ads.

Separately, Facebook announced it will expand its support for shopping in Instagram Stories. It made shopping tags available to select brands in Stories last month and now plans to roll that out to all brands that have enabled shopping in Instagram.

UK privacy watchdog guns for Facebook  

Across the pond, the Information Commissioner’s Office intends to fine Facebook the maximum possible under U.K’s 1998 data protection regime for breaches related to the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal.

“It has been told it will likely face a fine of £500,000 (US$662,563) — a drop in the ocean for a company that turned over US$12.7bn in the fourth quarter of 2017,” noted The Telegraph with tongue firmly in cheek. 

This is the maximum fine officials can hand out because Facebook is being penalized under old data protection law. It’s a lucky escape for Facebook because if the breach had occurred after May 25, it would have fallen under the General Data Protection Regulation, which gives the regulator powers to fine a company up to 4% of its global revenue.

However, the fine may be the tip of the regulatory missiles now being directed at the social media giant and its ad-targeting methods.

ICO has published a comprehensive policy report in which it sets out a series of policy recommendations on how to secure personal information in the era of modern political campaigns.

In the report it calls directly for an "ethical pause" around the use of microtargeting ad tools for political campaigning to "allow the key players —  government, parliament, regulators, political parties, online platforms and citizens — to reflect on their responsibilities in respect of the use of personal information in the era of big data before there is a greater expansion in the use of new technologies."

Facebook traded slightly lower to US$202.80 midday Wednesday.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at uttara@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive

 

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 11:15:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/200609/facebook-brings-augmented-reality-ads-to-the-news-feed-200609.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook is acquiring Bloomsbury AI, says a TechCrunch report ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/199968/facebook-is-acquiring-bloomsbury-ai-says-a-techcrunch-report-199968.html The social media giant Facebook is acquiring Bloomsbury AI, a fledgling London-based startup that specializes in natural language processing technology, per a report by the financial news site TechCrunch.

Facebook is reportedly interested in using Bloomsbury in its work to tackle fake news.

The report, which cites multiple unnamed sources, says Facebook will pay between US$23mln to US$30mln in a mixture of cash and stock to acquire Bloomsbury AI.

Bloomsbury AI creates natural language processing tools to allow machines to respond to questions. Its flagship product is Cape, which relies on artificial intelligence to read text documents and answer questions about its contents.

Facebook shares were flat at US$194.01 in morning trade today.

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Mon, 02 Jul 2018 09:39:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/199968/facebook-is-acquiring-bloomsbury-ai-says-a-techcrunch-report-199968.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook lifts its ban on select cryptocurrency advertisements ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/199617/facebook-lifts-its-ban-on-select-cryptocurrency-advertisements-199617.html Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is lifting its ban and giving the go-ahead for select cryptocurrency advertisements to appear on its site.

The social network moved to purge all of its crypto ads and bitcoin promotions last January when bitcoin prices were on a tear. At the time, they described their anti-crypto campaign as a bid to prevent people from advertising “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”.

Advertisers who take part in an application process with Facebook can now push crypto products, though bans are still in place to bar advertisements for initial coin offerings and binary options.

"Advertisers wanting to run ads for cryptocurrency products and services must submit an application to help us assess their eligibility — including any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business," said Rob Leathern, a Facebook product management director, in a blog post.

Read: Facebook sparks joy in the crypto sector with talk of its own virtual token

While still exuberant, the bitcoin craze is not nearly as frenetic as it was, with the price of bitcoin having fallen to US$6,176 today, down from its high of over US$19,000 back in December of 2017.

Facebook also appears to have some respect for the bitcoin and crypto drama. This year, the social media giant set up a blockchain team on its own and it is also seriously flirting with the idea of launching its own virtual token, according to press reports. 

Facebook shares jumped 1.2% in afternoon trade to US$198.68.

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Tue, 26 Jun 2018 15:46:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/199617/facebook-lifts-its-ban-on-select-cryptocurrency-advertisements-199617.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook Inc's prominent PR exec Elliot Schrage to leave ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198904/facebook-inc-s-prominent-pr-exec-elliot-schrage-to-leave-198904.html Elliot Schrage, a prominent Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)executive who leads its public policy and communications team, is parting ways with the social media company after a decade, per an article in Recode.

Schrage orchestrated the controversial efforts to put out the publicity fire when it emerged that Cambridge Analytica took advantage of lax data protection procedures to reportedly harvest personal data of around 87mln Facebook users.

Schrage is reportedly staying on at Facebook for a while to help find his successor.  After that, he will work as an advisor to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

“After more than a decade at Facebook, I’ve decided it’s time to start a new chapter in my life,” Schrage told Recode. “Leading policy and communications for hyper growth technology companies is a joy – but it’s also intense and leaves little room for much else. Mark, Sheryl and I have been discussing this for a while.”

Facebook shares are up 2.5% in afternoon trade at US$197.12.

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Thu, 14 Jun 2018 15:53:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198904/facebook-inc-s-prominent-pr-exec-elliot-schrage-to-leave-198904.html
<![CDATA[News - WhatsApp chips away at Facebook as young people turn to the messaging app to discuss news events, says Reuters Institute ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198887/whatsapp-chips-away-at-facebook-as-young-people-turn-to-the-messaging-app-to-discuss-news-events-says-reuters-institute-198887.html Researchers at the Reuters Institute said Wednesday that the use of social media networks such as Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) to consume news has started to fall in the US as many young people turn toward messaging apps such as Facebook-owned WhatsApp to discuss events.

A Reuters Institute survey of people in 37 markets had some grim findings for the world’s largest social network platform pointing out that Facebook usage for news is down 9 percentage points from 2017 in the United States and down 20 points for younger audiences.

“The use of social media for news has started to fall in a number of key markets after years of continuous growth,” Nic Newman, research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, said in the Digital News Report.

“We continue to see a rise in the use of messaging apps for news as consumers look for more private (and less confrontational) spaces to communicate,” Newman said.

Social media has changed how news is consumed

People used to subscribe to the local paper, but now nearly 50% of people hear about a breaking news story on social media.

The research lays bare the volatility of consumer tastes pointing out that Facebook and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) are still used by “many users to discover news but the discussion then takes place on messaging apps such as WhatsApp,” often because people “feel less vulnerable” discussing events on such apps.

READ: Facebook scraps 'Trending Topics' section as fake news debate rolls on

Wall Street had balked at Facebook founder CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s free-spending ways when he has bought WhatsApp in 2014 for US$19bn in cash and stock, but it has turned out to be a prescient decision. The report points out that WhatsApp is more popular than Twitter in importance for news in many countries.

“Some respondents still found news on Facebook but then posted items on a WhatsApp group for discussion with a closer set of friends,” said the report.

The survey pointed out regional news sharing differences noting WhatsApp and Instagram, also a unit of Facebook, have “taken off in Latin America and Asia,” while Snapchat Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP) has made progress in Europe and the United States.

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Thu, 14 Jun 2018 09:09:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198887/whatsapp-chips-away-at-facebook-as-young-people-turn-to-the-messaging-app-to-discuss-news-events-says-reuters-institute-198887.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook to police bad businesses by banning their ads if they lie to customers ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198721/facebook-to-police-bad-businesses-by-banning-their-ads-if-they-lie-to-customers-198721.html Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has come up with a new way to keep businesses on their toes.

The social network will allow unhappy customers to post a complaint about businesses they’ve had a problem with if they buy something after clicking on one of their ads. If the complaints snowball, it could lead to Facebook banning the company from running ads.

The new ad policy rolled out globally Tuesday to combat bad shopping experiences.

READ: Facebook exposed millions of private posts to public view, say multiple reports

Facebook will send notifications to users to ask about their shopping experience if it detects that they’ve purchased something after clicking on an ad. They will be able to find those companies and leave feedback on the Ads Activity page, Facebook announced in a blog post.

"Most businesses who receive this feedback do want to improve and do take steps to improve the customer experience and setting better customer expectations up front," Sarah Epps, product marketing director at Facebook, told Business Insider.

Some, however, are just looking to intentionally mislead potential customers.

"We have no tolerance," Epps said. "We put people first, and we do what we need to do to enforce against bad actors."

READ: Facebook admits user data was shared with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei

The social media giant’s goal is to make a place where people can trust the online-shopping ads and the businesses that are advertising.

"When people have these bad experiences, it is bad for trust with all businesses on the platform, and it's bad for Facebook," Epps said. "The goal is to provide more relevant and trustworthy experiences for people interacting with businesses on Facebook."

Facebook is laser-focused on a few problem areas related to shipping times, product quality, and customer service. If a business rectifies the issues once it receives complaints, it can stay in good standing. If not, the ads will suffer until, at a certain point, Facebook will refuse to show them to users at all.

Facebook shares rose slightly to US$192.55 Tuesday afternoon.

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Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:44:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198721/facebook-to-police-bad-businesses-by-banning-their-ads-if-they-lie-to-customers-198721.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook exposed millions of private posts to public view, say multiple reports ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198487/facebook-exposed-millions-of-private-posts-to-public-view-say-multiple-reports-198487.html Already bloodied by a series of privacy and security scandals, a report by CNBC says Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) now says a software bug may have exposed the private posts of up to 14 million people to the general public.

The bug reportedly changed users’ privacy settings to public without their knowledge for 10 days in May.

READ: Facebook admits user data was shared with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei

Facebook in a statement said it has fixed the bug and apologized for the mistake, according to Recode.

Shares of the social network fell 1.7% to US188.06 in afternoon trade.

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Thu, 07 Jun 2018 15:39:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198487/facebook-exposed-millions-of-private-posts-to-public-view-say-multiple-reports-198487.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook admits user data was shared with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198399/facebook-admits-user-data-was-shared-with-chinese-smartphone-maker-huawei-198399.html Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is in the hot seat again, embroiled in its latest privacy scandal.

The social media giant confirmed that four Chinese device-makers had access to customer data, including smartphone maker Huawei.

A New York Times article revealed earlier this week that the platform had shared a broad range of information with device-makers. Before the rise of the app store, device-integrated APIs, or application programming interface, allowed device makers to offer Facebook features to its customers.

Around 60 device-makers were involved in data-sharing partnerships including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Blackberry Limited (NYSE:BB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).

READ: Facebook scandal enquiry to continue despite the collapse of Cambridge Analytica

Device companies were able to retrieve personal information from users’ friends, according to the Times article.

The U.S. government has expressed concerns that the Chinese government can gather intelligence via Huawei's smartphones. The company has denied those allegations.

READ: Facebook responds after getting tangled up in another data-sharing scandal

Facebook responded to the Times report in a blog post, saying that information was only made accessible when users made the decision to share it. The company stated it was unaware of any abuse by companies in the data-sharing partnerships and had begun to end the collaborations in April now that the Facebook app is available on most smartphones.

The initial report, as well as new findings, raise concerns about the platform’s privacy practices and its compliance with the 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC alleged that Facebook had deceived its users, telling them that their information was kept private but then sharing it with third-party applications and advertisers.

U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) recently sent a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking for more details about Facebook's data privacy policy and security practices. Zuckerberg was given a June 18 deadline to respond to the senators' questions.

Shares of social network fell slightly to US$191.30 in Wednesday after-hours trading.

 

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Wed, 06 Jun 2018 16:37:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198399/facebook-admits-user-data-was-shared-with-chinese-smartphone-maker-huawei-198399.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook responds after getting tangled up in another data-sharing scandal ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198196/facebook-responds-after-getting-tangled-up-in-another-data-sharing-scandal-198196.html In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica situation that led to millions of users’ personal information being disclosed, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is under scrutiny again.

A New York Times article revealed that the platform shared more information with device makers than originally thought. Device-integrated APIs, or application programming interface, allowed device makers like Apple and Blackberry to offer Facebook features to users. The partnerships were arranged about a decade ago before the rise of the app store.

READ: Facebook scraps 'Trending Topics' section as fake news debate rolls on

Around 60 device makers were involved in data-sharing partnerships including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Blackberry Limited (NYSE:BB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Device companies were able to retrieve personal information from users’ friends, according to the Times article.

READ: Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy in the US in wake of Facebook data scandal

The report raises concerns about the platform’s privacy practices and its compliance with the 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC alleged that Facebook had deceived its users, telling them that their information was kept private but then sharing it with third-party applications and advertisers.

“Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies,” responded Facebook in a blog post entitled “Why We Disagree with The New York Times”.

The social media giant announced back in April that it would slowly wind down access to APIs  as fewer people were using them since a Facebook app has been made available on iOS and Android devices.

So far, the company said it has ended 22 of these data-sharing partnerships.

Shares of Facebook were down more than 1% to US$190.90 in Monday pre-market trading.

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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 08:49:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198196/facebook-responds-after-getting-tangled-up-in-another-data-sharing-scandal-198196.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook scraps 'Trending Topics' section as fake news debate rolls on ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198124/facebook-scraps-trending-topics-section-as-fake-news-debate-rolls-on-198124.html The debate on the social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and its convoluted relationship with news took another twist Friday as it revealed it was pulling its 'trending topics' section for users.

The section is said by the tech behemoth to help users "discover interesting and relevant topics being discussed on Facebook ..".

But now the company apparently sees the feature, which has courted much controversy over the years, as more of a thorn in its side than an asset and is scrapping it next week.

It was rolled out to users' pages four years ago, but accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks back to the original publishers and never made a return on investment, says Facebook.

And since then, the section has run into much criticism and issues, as so-called 'fake news' was said to often surface under the banner "Trending Topics".

READ: Facebook fights wave of bad publicity with a new 'Clear History' button

Controversies concerning the section for Facebook include a hoax about 9/11, and a false article about then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

According to one research center, 44% of U.S. adults get some or all their news via Facebook.

Underlining the strength of feeling on the issue of news and Facebook, it emerged this week that Papua New Guinea wants to shut down the website while it researches how the platform is actually used.

The country's communications minister reportedly said the downtime will allow the identification of the country’s fake users, as well as those who upload “false or misleading” information or pornographic content.

Blanket bans

China, Iran and North Korea all have blanket bans on Facebook, and other countries have blocked it temporarily, during protests or in the run-up to elections.

Facebook now says it will test new approaches to disseminating news from publishers, to include a "breaking news" test where publishers can apply that label to some of their posts in News Feed.

Facebook shares added 0.94% to US$193.59.

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Fri, 01 Jun 2018 12:17:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/198124/facebook-scraps-trending-topics-section-as-fake-news-debate-rolls-on-198124.html
<![CDATA[News - Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy in the US in wake of Facebook data scandal ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/197299/cambridge-analytica-files-for-bankruptcy-in-the-us-in-wake-of-facebook-data-scandal-197299.html Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm at the centre of the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) data scandal, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the US.

Earlier this year, the company, hired by Donald Trump during his presidential election campaign, was accused of misusing the data of 87mln Facebook users.

READ: Facebook shrugs of Cambridge Analytica scandal to post 1Q earnings beat

The allegations took its toll on Cambridge Analytica’s business, as well as that of its British parent, with both announcing plans to shut down operations earlier this month.

In its bankruptcy filings, signed on behalf of the board by Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of billionaire Trump supporter Robert Mercer, Cambridge listed assets in the range of US$100,001 to US$500,000, and liabilities of between US$1-10mln.

Facebook has come under severe scrutiny for its role in the scandal. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has already appeared before US congressional committees and is due to meet European leaders later this month.

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Fri, 18 May 2018 13:31:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/197299/cambridge-analytica-files-for-bankruptcy-in-the-us-in-wake-of-facebook-data-scandal-197299.html
<![CDATA[News - Facebook sparks joy in the crypto sector with talk of its own virtual token ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196859/facebook-sparks-joy-in-the-crypto-sector-with-talk-of-its-own-virtual-token-196859.html It might just be the case that Facebook’s adoption of cryptocurrencies could turn virtual tokens into a wildly popular thing.

The news today from the US news site Cheddar that the social media network is looking into creating its own cryptocurrency and putting digital wallets into the hands of its two billion users is both radical and brilliant, say crypto-industry watchers, who are already attempting to sketch out how Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) would go about incorporating a cryptocurrency into its business

“It’s a radical idea that crypto wallets could be in the hands of 2 billion people. That would be a massive sea change for the industry. This could be the catalyst by which normal people have a use for cryptocurrency,” says Alex Harrington, chief executive of PeerStream (OTCQB:PEER), a blockchain software development company. “Facebook has a bigger reach than almost anyone else.”

Jeff Koyen, the founder of 360 Blockchain (CNSX:CODE, OTCMKTS:BKLLF), a blockchain investment company, is just as bullish as PeerStream’s Harrington, and says that any adoption of a cryptocurrency by Facebook would revolutionize the fledgling crypto-industry.

It’s great. It’s brilliant,” says Koyen. “This could be the first killer app in cryptocurrency. We’re looking for those killer apps. Those apps that are going to use crypto and blockchain and make them mainstream."

Reasons for Zuckerberg's attraction to cryptocurrency 

Koyen thinks Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, is attracted to the crypto-space for several reasons. Chief among them is that by introducing virtual tokens, Zuckerberg could persuade users to stay on Facebook for lengthier periods of time and conduct some business on it as well.

“Look at Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. People do everything on that. They even do their banking on it,” says Koyen.

A cryptocurrency would introduce a way for Facebook to embrace the exchange of money on its site. “Facebook is obviously looking for a way to smooth the exchange of payments. They must be tired of what they’re doing on the back-end,” says Koyen.

Depending on whether they want to monetize their tokens and face additional financial regulations, cryptocurrency could be an alternative revenue stream to advertising as Facebook could receive transactional fees of some sort when a Facebook token crosses its network. Looking even further ahead, the coins might also one day be accepted at Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) or Overstock Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK).

Regulatory overhang?

But any plans Facebook has for a cryptocurrency remain vague at best, and the closer the token gets to serving like a real currency, the tougher the regulations that will be faced.

Harrington of PeerStream warns that if you transact in cryptocurrency, you might “find yourself facing a taxable gain.” He also predicts that Facebook isn’t likely to engage in an initial coin offering, or ICO, an unregulated auction by which funds are raised for new crypto ventures, as such activities would draw considerable scrutiny from the U.S. government and the public.

Instead, Facebook coins could simply serve as internal currencies and not proxy currencies, so that the social media giant avoids confronting regulatory hurdles.

Dismissing ICOs as unregulated crowd sales, David Vincent, chief executive at Canamex Gold (CSE:CSQ, OTC:CNMXF), argues that Facebook will have to go down the regulated route even if they do introduce utility tokens which share characteristics with bitcoin. “They can’t cut corners,” he says.

Vincent has experience in the token arena as his company Canamex is the first publicly listed company to launch gold security tokens which offer a 40% discount to the spot gold price. He goes so far as to say that Nasdaq-listed shares in Facebook – which closed at US$186.99 Friday – could be used to back asset-backed tokens one day.

“They might stick to a traditional utility token, but shares in Facebook could be tokenized and put on the blockchain,” Vincent concludes. “A lot of people are watching to see what they’re going to do.

Facebook token may take years to be introduced

Debating how and why Facebook is investigating the introduction of a cryptocurrency remains a parlor game for crypto-currency watchers. “It still remains to be seen exactly what application they would put the currency towards,” says Harrington.

READ: Facebook realigns management structure, creates blockchain team

For now, industry watchers must hold their collective breaths and wait for additional smoke signals coming from the social media giant as Facebook's work on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency will likely take years to bring to fruition and it may involve an acquisition or two to bring its tokens to the market.

--Updates share price --

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Fri, 11 May 2018 15:39:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196859/facebook-sparks-joy-in-the-crypto-sector-with-talk-of-its-own-virtual-token-196859.html