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Is there a storm coming for social media companies?

The usage of social media has gone out of control. There are many reports saying, that it has become a new addiction, and not only that, in many cases it has negative impact on people’s behaviour and mental health. For that reason, countries are deciding to put certain measures on the social media companies. You can read below, how Vietnam and USA are planning to restrict young generation to use the platforms.

Proposed bill in the US

A bipartisan group of US senators has unveiled a bill that would mandate social media platforms to verify the ages of users, prevent anyone under 13 from joining, and establish specific rules for minors over 13. The proposed "Protecting Kids on Social Media Act" would additionally require the government to trial a voluntary national age-verification system that would verify people's ages online using official records and IDs. The legislation, which would apply to platforms that offer publishing capabilities for text, images, and videos in the US, is aimed at safeguarding young people against social media addiction and would necessitate a broad reassessment of how adults and children behave online. However, the bill features exemptions for services that provide video conferencing, cloud storage, and crowd-sourced content for reference guides, among other things. Social media sites that are not exempt would have to take reasonable steps to verify users' ages, beyond merely asking them to tick a box confirming they are over 18 and consider current age verification technologies.

The bill would require social media platforms to verify users' ages and prohibit those under 13 years of age from registering. It would also require platforms to establish special rules for minors over 13 years of age, including limitations on the use of their personal data for algorithmic recommendation systems. Violations of the bill would be subject to penalties under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The bill does not specify any particular age verification method but would require the Secretary of Commerce to pilot a program that enables users to obtain a secure digital identification credential by uploading copies of their IDs or validating their identity information against electronic government documentation. [1]

Vietnam is joining the US in this matter

Vietnam is reportedly planning to require users of both local and foreign social media platforms to verify their identities as part of a new Telecommunications Law Amendment to be introduced by the end of the year. The measure is intended to curb online scams and will allow law enforcement agencies to track down offenders using social media to break the law, according to state-run Voice of Vietnam (VOV) newspaper. The measure would apply to both individual and organisational users, although not all providers currently offer identity verification in the country. The regulation would require the approval of the country's lawmakers, with no details currently available. Vietnam has previously issued a cybersecurity law and several other regulations targeting foreign social media platforms to combat disinformation and force tech firms to store data in the country.

The officials have added that no company will be an exception. They specifically mentioned companies like Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and others. [2]

Stocks development of META

Because Meta is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, social media company, we decided to check their stocks. Their stocks came to the market in May 2012. The starting price was 38,23 USD for a stock. Since then, the highest growth of the stock was 890%, which it reached in September 2021, when the price for a stock was 378,69 USD.  After that, company suffered many negative news regarding their Metaverse project, and caused the company’s stocks to fall for 78%, and so the price was around 90 USD, which is still much higher than the original one.  However, that did not stop the company to evolve themselves, and they have managed to climb back, to the actual price of 237 USD. * Given, that the highest price reached was at around 380 USD, this gives a stock a genuinely nice space for potential movement. [1]

ozios_some

Movement of Meta stocks in the last five years. (Source: Google Finance) *

Meta Platforms held a second bond sale

Facebook's parent company, which recently reported earnings, raised 8.5 billion USD through a five-part deal. The offering's longest portion, a 40-year security, was priced at 192 basis points over Treasuries, less than the initially discussed rate of 215 basis points. * Eleven companies offered bond deals before the Federal Open Market Committee meeting and rate decision. Other notable high-grade issuers included Hershey and Comcast, with 750 million USD and 5 billion USD, respectively. Meta intends to use the funds to finance capital expenditures, share buybacks, acquisitions, and investments. Last year, the company raised 10 billion USD in its first-ever corporate bond offering. Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley were the bookrunners on the deal. [3]

Conclusion

Despite Meta facing troubles and negative news regarding their Metaverse project, company did not give up on their dreams and their vision. News about users’ verification will not positively impact them, however, they have faced much worse things in the past and managed to solve them. We believe that also these upcoming laws will be no different, that is why we choose Meta for an interesting pick.

Commentary by Ozios Chief Analyst Adam Austera

* Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

[1] Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and current expectations, which may be inaccurate, or based on the current economic environment which is subject to change. Such statements are not guaranteeing of future performance. They involve risks and other uncertainties which are difficult to predict. Results could differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements.

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[1] https://www.theverge.com/2023/4/26/23699255/senators-bill-age-verification-protecting-kids-on-social-media-act

[2]https://www.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/vietnam-to-require-social-media-users-to-verify-identity-3076001

[3] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-05-01/meta-said-to-target-7-billion-in-its-second-blue-chip-bond-sale?in_source=embedded-checkout-banner

Disclaimer:

The material herein is considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations, and as such is not a subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and should not be construed as containing investment advice, or an investment recommendation, or an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. The published content is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It does not take into account readers’ financial situation, personal experience or investment objectives. APME FX Trading Europe Ltd makes no representation that the information provided is accurate, current or complete; and therefore, assumes no liability for any losses arising from investments based on the supplied content. The past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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