19 October 2018

Zuckerberg's overhaul of Facebook cost him £2.4bn already

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Mark Zuckerberg said the latest change to Facebook would make users' time on the website more "valuable". But for the co-founder of the social media giant, it is proving very expensive. reports citing the Telegraph.

The 33-year-old saw his fortune fall $3.3 billion (£2.4 billion) on Friday after he posted plans to shift users’ news feeds towards content from family and friends at the expense of material from media outlets and businesses.

Shares of California-based Facebook tumbled 4.5 percent on Friday in New York, cutting Mr Zuckerberg’s fortune to $74 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The drop wiped out much of the $4.5 billion Mr Zuckerberg had added this year and saw him lose his place as the world’s fourth-richest person to Spanish retail billionaire Amancio Ortega.

"There is too much uncertainty relating to the economic impact of Facebook's pending news feed changes for us to be comfortable retaining a Buy rating on the stock," wrote Stifel analyst Scott Devitt in a research note, cutting his recommendation to "hold" from "buy."

The change announced by Mr Zuckerberg follows criticism that Facebook's algorithms may have prioritised misleading news and misinformation in people's feeds, influencing the 2016 American presidential election as well as political discourse in other countries.

Facebook said its new ranking system would hurt non-advertising content from publishers and brands, like news stories and viral video posts, but not change the ranking of advertising that has been paid for.

That will leave businesses that want publicity on Facebook no choice but to spend more on advertising, and as a result prices will climb, predicted Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, which advises corporate brands on social media.

"They're definitely going to be required to buy an ad," Mr Schiffer said.

With its stock up 48 percent over the past 12 months, Facebook has been a major driver of a technology rally that has propelled the S&P 500 to record highs. Its revenue is expected by analysts on average to have surged 45 percent in 2017, a rare accomplishment for a company of its size.

Some hedge funds used Friday's drop in Facebook's stock to bolster their positions, said Joel Kulina, a senior trader at Wedbush.

"Guys were hoping there would be more of a pullback so they could buy more," Mr Kulina said. "They don't think there are any real cracks in the Facebook story."

2018.01.13 / 10:37
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