Why Meta Platforms Stock Fell Early on Friday

What happened

Shares of Meta Platforms (META -2.16%) slipped on Friday, falling as much as 2.5%. As of 1:05 pm ET, the stock was still down 2%.

The market downdraft no doubt helped aid the stock’s decline, but one specific catalyst that sent the social media titan lower was word that it was on the receiving end of yet another privacy-related lawsuit.

So what

Facebook and Apple (AAPL -2.07%) have been in a long-running spat involving the iPhone maker’s iOS privacy update last year that forced users to actively consent to being tracked across apps and websites. A new lawsuit, filed by Facebook and Instagram users, alleges Meta continued to track them — even after they opted out, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, charges that the company used Facebook’s in-app browser to sidestep Apple’s privacy measures, and perform unauthorized data collection in the process.

Data privacy researcher Felix Krause first discovered the workaround, revealing that the app tracked activity using JavaScript code, which not only tracked website visits but could also capture usernames and passwords.

Facebook has actively campaigned against Apple’s privacy changes, asserting that the move is causing it to lose out on roughly $10 billion this year in lost digital advertising revenue.

Now what

This is just the latest black eye for Meta for alleged privacy violations. The most public of these is the Cambridge Analytica scandal that alleged Facebook gave unauthorized third parties access to its user data. The company is still in the midst of lawsuits related to that case.

These continued invasions of user privacy are having lasting repercussions. A number of well-recognized companies are removing the ability to log into websites using Facebook credentials, rather than generating a new username and password, further shrinking the funnel through which Meta collects data.

These issues, combined with growing competition and the faltering economy, have weighed on Meta. In the second quarter, it reported the first-ever year-over-year revenue decline in the company’s history, a performance it expects to repeat in Q3.

These problems aside, the company remains extremely profitable and generates tons of cash flow. For investors willing to hold their noses, Meta stock is still a buy.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Danny Vena has positions in Apple and Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple and Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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