Facebook Inc. services experienced widespread outages Monday morning, adding to the social network’s miserable day. Facebook shares dropped as much as 6% to an intraday low of $323, which would be their worst single day decline since a 6.3% fall logged on Oct. 30, 2020. The stock outpaced a 1.5% loss on the S&P 500 index and a 2.3% loss on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index. The decline followed a national broadcast of a whistleblower’s allegations that the social media network placed profits before safety. Late Sunday, ViacomCBS Inc.’s news program “60 Minutes” interviewed former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen, who alleges that the social-media giant has been deceiving investors about how it has been dealing with hate speech and misinformation on its platform.
Haugen provided thousands of pages of documents to The Wall Street Journal, which formed the basis of the publication’s The Facebook Files series. Haugen is scheduled to testify before Congress on Tuesday morning and is also seeking whistleblower protection in complaints filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Adding to all of that was a widespread outage of Facebook services, including Instagram and WhatsApp, that started just before noon Eastern time. Even the status dashboard Facebook uses to communicate its availability to developers was not working Monday. A Facebook spokesman took to Twitter Inc.’s platform to confirm the issues.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” spokesman Andy Stone said. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologise for any inconvenience.” Through a series of public humiliations and recriminations, Facebook stock has largely avoided any fallout. Shares have gained 18.4% so far in 2021, outpacing the 16% growth of the S&P 500 index in that time, and have more than doubled over the past three years, gaining 106.2% in that time as the S&P 500 grew 51%. Institutional analysts continue to recommend the stock as well. According to FactSet, 38 of the 51 analysts covering Facebook — 75% — rate it as a “buy” or equivalent, while 12 rate it “hold” and only 1 calls the stock a “sell.” The average price target as of Monday morning was $421.55, nearly 30% higher than the going rate.