JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Facebook (ticker: FB) and Twitter (TWTR) executives struck a contrite tone before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, which should serve them well in the long run, a Wall Street firm said in a note Thursday.
But the short-term pain continues for both stocks, even after Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey explained what their companies are doing to prevent foreign meddling in elections.
Shares of Twitter slumped 4% to $31.45 in early trading Thursday, while Facebook’s stock was down nearly 3% to $162.87.
“While Street models have reset for FB, incorporating higher costs, we believe it is less clear this is the case for TWTR,” Evercore ISI analyst Anthony DiClemente wrote in a note to clients, reflecting concerns among investors in both companies.
Neither executive said much that added to investors’ understanding of the companies already robust strategies to combat abuse, DiClemente’s note said.
Facebook and Twitter have undertaken significant efforts to fortify their defenses after Russian agents infiltrated their vast social platforms and spread misinformation to sway voters during the 2016 presidential election. The covert influence campaign has prompted a handful of heated hearings on Capitol Hill over the past year. Lawmakers have grilled social-media leaders, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
One company that has been conspicuously silent, Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL), did not make available a top-level executive on Wednesday. Its absence “may prove to be a misstep,” DiClemente wrote. Alphabet’s shares were down more than 2%, to $1,169.20 Thursday morning.
Sign up to Review & Preview, a new daily email from Barron’s. Every evening we’ll review the news that moved markets during the day and look ahead to what it means for your portfolio in the morning.