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#SocialStocks: Tech Companies Seek Employees Abroad After Hiring Freeze

Posted May 18, 2023 at 9:45 am
Andrew Perez
The Fly

Elon Musk tabs Linda Yaccarino as Twitter’s next CEO, encrypted direct messaging launches 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.

SHARE SALE: 

The CFO of Zoom Video (ZM) Kelly Steckelberg disclosed in a regulatory filing that he had sold 3,224 shares of company stock at $63.88 per share on May 12, for a total transaction amount of $$205,948.

HELP WANTED ABROAD: 

Google (GOOGL), Meta Platforms (META), Amazon (AMZN) and other tech companies have hired foreign workers just weeks after reducing headcount by thousands of employees, according to a report from investigative journalist Lee Fang. Google, which laid off approximately 12,000 employees earlier this year, filed applications for lower-paid foreign workers to come to the U.S. for tech roles within the company, Fang noted, with Google-owned Waymo also receiving government approval for H-1B visa applications for engineering jobs.

AI PACT: 

Zoom announced a strategic partnership with and investment in Anthropic, an AI safety and research company working to build reliable, interpretable, and steerable AI systems. The collaboration with Anthropic will further Zoom’s federated approach to AI by allowing Anthropic’s AI assistant, Claude, to be integrated with Zoom’s platform, starting with Zoom Contact Center. “Anthropic’s Constitutional AI model is primed to provide safe and responsible integrations for our next-generation innovations, beginning with the Zoom Contact Center portfolio. With Claude guiding agents toward trustworthy resolutions and powering self-service for end-users, companies will be able to take customer relationships to another level,” said Smita Hashim, chief product officer for Zoom. “Partnering with Anthropic also furthers our commitment to providing customers with our federated approach to AI, optimized to deliver outstanding customer experience outcomes. Additionally, with our investment, we are advancing leading-edge companies like Anthropic and helping to drive innovation in the Zoom ecosystem and beyond.” Zoom’s federated approach to AI leverages its own proprietary AI models, along with those from AI companies – such as Anthropic – and select customers’ models. Zoom will reportedly be able to customize these models to perform better for a customer, based on their specific business needs.

13F SUMMARY: 

Paul Singer’s Elliott Investment Management disclosed in an SEC filing that one of the fund’s top positions was Pinterest (PINS). Similarly, Chase Coleman’s Tiger management revealed that the company bought up more shares of the company. Appaloosa increased its stake in Meta Platforms (META), while Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global disclosed that Meta was one of its top holdings by size. 

TWITTER SUCCESSION: 

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Friday: “I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter! @LindaYacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology. Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app.” Musk alluded to his new role at Twitter (TWTR) on Thursday tweeting, “My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.” In reply to a Twitter user asking Elon Musk to confirm he is not stepping down from being the CEO of Tesla (TSLA), Musk tweeted: “Obviously, bringing on Linda allows me to devote more time to Tesla, which is exactly what I will be doing!” Earlier today, Musk had confirmed that Linda Yaccarino has agreed to join as the new CEO of Twitter. 

ENCRYPTED DIRECT MESSAGING: 

The company said in an earlier blog posting: “Twitter seeks to be the most trusted platform on the internet, and encrypted Direct Messages are an important part of that. As Elon Musk said, when it comes to Direct Messages, the standard should be, if someone puts a gun to our heads, we still can’t access your messages. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re working on it. Until then, here is the Encrypted Direct Message we are releasing – a new way of communicating on Twitter that will appear as separate conversations, alongside your existing Direct Messages in your inbox…The latest version of Twitter apps (iOS, Android, Web) generate a pair of device specific keys, called private and public key pair. The public key is automatically registered when a user logs into Twitter on a new device or browser; the private key never leaves the device and therefore is never communicated to Twitter. In addition to the private-public key pairs, there is a per conversation key that is used to encrypt the content of messages. The private-public key pairs are used to exchange the conversation key securely between participating devices.”

ANALYST COMMENTARY: 

Arete upgraded Snap (SNAP). At the recent NewFronts, Snap released a suite of new advertising products, including Spotlight Ads that it will roll out globally via automatic placements, further diversifying its ad mix away from app installs and brand budgets and giving it a suite of new features to monetize. Shares are down about 30% from their 2023 peak in February, the firm also noted.

Loop Capital upgraded Meta. The firm views the company’s expense rationalization as more a one-time driver but has become increasingly positive on Meta’s revenue outlook. Three significant headwinds to revenue – Apple ad tracking changes, foreign exchange and transition to Reels – are all cycling through and set to become tailwinds, Loop told investors in a research note. The firm estimates these pressures had around a mid-teens percent headwind to revenue growth. In addition to acceleration from comp normalization, Meta should see strong product-driven enhancements with Advantage+ and monetization momentum on Reels, contends Loop. It believes earnings estimates “barring an intensified global recession.”

Originally Posted May 17, 2023 – #SocialStocks: Tech companies seek employees abroad after hiring freeze

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