Amidst rising public scrutiny over a recent New York Times investigation that accused Facebook executives of partnering with a PR firm that practiced unethical (and anti-Semitic) “opposition research,” the social networking company’s stock dropped 5% Monday morning.
According to CNBC, Facebook’s stock hasn’t dipped this low since February 2017—a financial hit that’s hammered in by the fact that the tech giant is expected to report a new record in monthly losses, projected to end in the red for the third month in a row. Furthermore, CNBC reports that Facebook is slated to report its second straight calendar quarter of losses for Q4, which the company hasn’t done since 2013.
And it isn’t just stocks that are taking a tumble. The Wall Street Journal reports that employee morale has plunged as well. According to a recent survey, just over half of employees said they were optimistic about the future of the company (down 32% from this time last year). The number of employees who reported to believe that Facebook was “making the world a better place” had fallen by 19%.
Although CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg denied that he or COO Sheryl Sandberg had prior knowledge of controversial lobbying tactics until reading it in the Times report, Facebook faces ongoing criticism for its practices during the 2016 election and following data breaches—a tension that has been reflected in the stock market.
The falling stock has garnered a mixed response on Twitter. Although some are calling for a wide dumping of shares due to moral failings, others tweet that it might be a good time to purchase stock.
New York City comptroller Scott Stringer, an investor who owns approximately $1 billion in Facebook shares, suggests that replacing Zuckerberg as chairman could right financial woes. “A company with Facebook’s massive reach and influence requires robust oversight and that can only be achieved through an independent chair who is empowered to provide critical checks on company leadership,” Stringer told Business Insider.
Zuckerberg disagrees, telling reporters Thursday, “I don’t particularly think that that specific proposal is the right way to go.”
Investors and reporters will undoubtedly check in again around announcements of November’s earnings.