(Google Trends data updated on 5 January 2020) - At the end of every year, when it’s time for New Year’s resolutions, people seek help to quit smoking - but even more people try to figure out how to delete their Facebook account. Here’s my annual update of the google trends chart to illustrate this:
In 2018, the Cambridge Analytica schandal caused a huge increase in search volume for ‘delete facebook’. In a way, things are now back to normal.
Last year, I looked whether the scandal had had an impact on Facebooks share price. It had, but other tech firms also saw their share prices go down. A likely explanation is that investors feared the scandal might trigger government regulation of the tech sector.
A year later, that fear hasn’t gone away. HSBC recently said Facebooks share price may collapse:
The results of the regulatory crackdown, including fines and policy changes could cost Facebook almost 40% of its market value, the firm said. Trust-busting, anti-competitive fines, privacy fines, taxation, merger control and telecoms-type regulation all pose potential implications to valuation.
But others think investors have already factored in any impact decisions by regulatory agencies might have: «We believe most investors have become comfortable with the fact that this is an ongoing issue with risk of periodic multi-billion dollar fines.»
Of course, such predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. So what about the past year?
Over the year 2019, Facebooks share price has recovered the losses it suffered after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. When financial results exceeded expectations, the share price went up. When regulatory agencies and prosecutors announced investigations, it went down a bit again.