Data Scandals Are Old News for Investors Looking to Cash In on Facebook

Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Shutterstock
January 31, 2019
3mo ago

By Chloe Aiello

Facebook's year of scandal is a thing of the past ー at least according to Wall Street, Meridian Equity Partners' Jonathan Corpina told Cheddar.

Wall Street's positive response to Facebook's impressive earnings show 2018's scandals are old news, Corpina said. "That's an old story; we are in 2019 now. It seems like investors have shrugged off all those negative headlines."

Facebook ($FB) shares soared Thursday, riding the high of a Wednesday evening earnings and revenue beat that put an optimistic spin on an otherwise troubling year. Over the past 12 months, Facebook's stock has dropped close to 12 percent amid a series of damaging data privacy and political scandals, from Russian trolls using the platform for coordinated misinformation campaigns to the improper harvesting of user data. As recently as this week, TechCruch reported that Facebook has been paying users aged 13 to 35 to install a VPN that allows the company to essentially spy on their mobile activity, potentially igniting a battle with Apple ($AAPL), which banned a similar app from its store in June.

Corpina said the stock moves prove investors, pleased with the 30 percent revenue spike and user growth Facebook reported in the quarter, are ready to put those headlines behind them and get in on the action.

"And I think as those numbers continue to grow ... advertisers still want to be part of it," Corpina said.

Of course, regulation, which Corpina called a "cloud hanging," still poses some risk to Facebook, which hasn't so much fixed its problems as it has proven it can continue to grow in spite of them. On Wednesday, following Facebook's report, Zuckerberg said on a call with analysts that "addressing some of the biggest social issues around the future of the internet ー including election integrity, content governance, safety and security, data privacy, and digital well-being.," would remain a huge priority for the company.

"It's nice to see they are down in Washington addressing it," Corpina said. "But the end of the day it's going to come down to how does the government perceive Facebook is using this data and that information that's in there."

Facebook was last up about 11.5 percent in intraday trading.

For full interview click here.