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#SocialStocks: Meta to Start Restricting Certain Content from Teens on Instagram

Posted January 11, 2024 at 10:30 am
Andrew Perez
The Fly

EC urges social media companies to aid dissident Belarusian media, Zuckerberg sells $428M of stock and other notable stories from this week

Welcome to “#SocialStocks,” The Fly’s weekly recap of Wall Street’s reactions to social media stock news.

AN INVESTIGATABLE OFFENSE: 

A Meta Platforms staffer has claimed the company put her under investigation for possibly violating employee policy after she raised concerns about the alleged censorship of pro-Palestinian views by the company, Hannah Murphy and Cristina Criddle of The Financial Times said. In a video posted by the employee, she said she garnered 450 signatures from fellow staffers for a letter she published asking management to acknowledge the Palestinian lives lost and support Palestinian colleagues. The employee also demanded for “transparent action for internal and external censorship.” The staffer said her letter was quickly removed from the internal forum by the company. Soon after she was promptly locked from internal systems and placed under investigation.

LISTENING TO EXPERTS: 

Meta announced that it will start to hide more types of content for teens on Instagram and Facebook, in line with expert guidance, including self-harm and eating disorder content. The company said it is automatically placing all teens into the most restrictive content control settings on Instagram and Facebook and restricting additional terms in Search on Instagram and is prompting teens to update their privacy settings on Instagram in a single tap with new notifications. “We want teens to have safe, age-appropriate experiences on our apps. We’ve developed more than 30 tools and resources to support teens and their parents, and we’ve spent over a decade developing policies and technology to address content that breaks our rules or could be seen as sensitive.”

DISSIDENT MEDIA: 

The European Commission, or EC, is urging Google (GOOGL) and other big technology companies to help dissident Belarusian media by promoting their stories higher than what they argue are the algorithm-favored pro-regime outlets, Raphael Minder of FT reported. Belarusian exiled journalists have complained to the commission that content critical to the regime of Alexander Lukashenko are failing to reach target audiences, which they argue is partially due to the search algorithms used by Google, Meta and others that take into account Lukashenko’s media censorship rules.

ZUCK DUMPS SHARES: 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed with the SEC the sale of $428M worth of shares over the past two months. The filing shows Zuckerberg sold nearly 1.8M shares over the course of every trading day between November 1 and the end of 2023. The sales were by the CEO’s Rule 10b5-1 trading plan.

ANALYST COMMENTARY: 

TD Cowen raised the firm’s price target on Snap (SNAP). The firm raised its target as its Ad Buyer survey concluded Snap’s share of digital advertising will rise, ROI continues to lag major Social platforms, and ad buyers share of Snap spending remained stable.

The firm also raised the its price target on Meta. TD Cowen said its ad survey concluded core Facebook and Instagram share of digital advertising will rise, Reels has emerged as a leader in Short Form Video surpassing TikTok in advertiser preference, and Facebook is ranked number two in ROI.

Stifel raised the firm’s price target on Snap. Additionally, Stifel increased its price target on Pinterest (PINS). The firm has revised its digital advertising growth expectations for the year as it now sees digital growth of 8% year-over-year versus a prior call for 7.2% growth, but still expects a “modest environment” for e-commerce, the analyst told investors in a 2024 internet outlook and Q4 preview note. The firm’s top picks in the group to start 2024 are Amazon (AMZN) and Meta, the analyst noted.

BMO Capital initiated coverage of Pinterest. Pinterest was primarily a Brand advertiser through 2022, but the new management team is focused on unlocking lower funnel, direct response advertising dollars, which will accelerate in 2024, the analyst tells investors. Growth in Amazon ads contributions should support ongoing growth in pricing, the analyst added.

The firm also initiated coverage of Snap. Snapchat+ sub growth now stands at a “really impressive” 7M in one year since launch and revenue growth should inflect positively in Q3 following three consecutive quarters of year-over-year declines, the analyst told investors.

Lastly, BMO Capital initiated coverage of Meta Platforms. The firm advises investors to maintain positions near term, realizing likely very near-term upside from numerous favorable Q4 tailwinds, but does not recommend allocating new funds in Meta given its concerns about unforeseen growth headwinds into the second half of 2024 and beyond, the analyst noted.

Originally Posted January 10, 2024 – #SocialStocks: Meta to start restricting certain content from teens on Instagram

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