Facebook Inc. shares posted their steepest drop since 2015 as U.S. and European officials demanded answers to reports that a political advertising firm retained information on millions of the social network’s users without their consent.
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg saw his net worth decline by about $5 billion Monday, but it could have been worse.
Ahead of Facebook’s worst one-day decline since 2012, prompted by news that data affecting 51.3 million members was improperly shared with a political consulting firm, Zuckerberg had been busy selling stock. So far this year, he has sold nearly 5 million shares.
Disposing of those Facebook FB, -6.77% shares before Monday ended up saving about $40 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings and some arithmetic by MarketWatch. At Monday’s close, the 4.9 million shares Zuckerberg has sold this year under a predetermined plan would be worth $855 million. Zuckerberg made about $900 million selling those shares, according to calculations using average weighted prices reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are calling on Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to appear before lawmakers to explain how U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica, the data-analysis firm that helped Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency, was able to harvest the personal information.
Facebook has already testified about how its platform was used by Russian propagandists ahead of the 2016 election, but the company never put Zuckerberg himself in the spotlight with government leaders. The pressure may also foreshadow tougher regulation for the social network.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, have called on the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to bring in technology company CEOs, including from Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, for public questioning.
In a letter Monday to Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, Klobuchar and Kennedy said they have “serious concern regarding recent reports that data from millions of American was misused in order to influence voters.”
“The lack of oversight on how data is stored and how political advertisements are sold raises concerns about the integrity of American elections as well as privacy rights,” the senators wrote. A hearing with the CEOs would allow the committee to learn “what is being done to protect Americans’ data and limit abuse of the platforms, as well as to assess what measures should be taken before the next elections.”