Facebook’s shares have been pummeled by the revelation that a third-party improperly accessed and stored the data from some 50 million users. Shares have dropped, pressured by concerns that the company could be faced with major fines and could fall out of favor with users in the aftermath of the scandal.
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Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in 2014 for $19 billion, tweeted that “It is time” to delete Facebook.
While shares have plunged on the news, analysts, overall, have maintained a bullish stance on the company’s stock. According to FactSet, analysts have an average rating of Buy and a $223 price target on the stock, considerable upside compared to Facebook’s Wednesday share price of around $166. Of note, the stock is at its lowest price since July.
The shares are rated by 44 analysts. As of a month ago, 36 of them had a Buy rating and FactSet has just two analysts with a Sell rating on the stock. One of those analysts is Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser, who wrote after the latest controversy that the social-media company is "exhibiting signs of systemic mismanagement."
Meanwhile, Keybanc Capital Markets reiterated its Overweight rating on Facebook, adding that the social media giant's stock is now extremely undervalued after this week's drop.
A shareholder lawsuit has been filed against Facebook while the Federal Trade Commission could investigate the company, as reported by Bloomberg. In addition, Fox News confirmed Facebook officials will meet with House Judiciary Committee staff as early as Wednesday to discuss the third-party data access and storage issue and the U.K. parliament requested Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appear for testimony.