It turns out Mark Zuckerberg’s time in the Congressional hot seat was a good thing for Facebook, as far as the markets were concerned.
After two days of questioning by American lawmakers, Facebook’s share price rose more than 5%—mostly on the first day of Zuckerberg’s testimony—boosting the tech company’s market value by more than $24 billion.
Before the testimonies, which lasted about 10 hours in total, Facebook’s market value had dropped by almost $80 billion since the data privacy scandal relating to Cambridge Analytica was revealed in mid-March. Although the company hasn’t yet regained these losses, the turnaround suggests traders are less worried about heavy-handed regulation of tech companies than they were before.
Questions to the 33-year-old Facebook founder ranged from basic queries about the company’s business model to everything about data privacy, political ads, censorship, and the opioid crisis. Lawmakers often betrayed a lack of understanding about how Facebook worked and many openly acknowledged that they need the company’s help and support in writing regulations that cover its industry. Some made a point of congratulating Zuckerberg on turning Facebook into such a large and successful company, as point of pride for the US.
Zuckerberg’s performance, clearly well coached, helped him outperform expectations, which were admittedly low. He avoided revealing anything particularly new that would have been damaging to the company, while dodging some of the sticker questions. (Here are nearly 50 things he promised lawmakers he’d get back to them about.)
Meanwhile, Facebook still has the support of the ever-optimistic brokers who follow the company. More than 90% of all broker recommendations are still a “buy,” according to FactSet.