Meta Platforms, Alphabet to Face $235M Penalty in France — Report

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The French regulatory body is planning to impose a fine of $235 million on Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) for violating the country’s data privacy rules, Zee Business said, citing media reports.

The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) plans to fine Meta €60 million and Google €150 million “for failing to allow French users to easily reject cookie tracking technology.”

Further, after the watchdog announces the decision, and if the tech firms fail to resolve the issue within three months, they will face an additional fine of €100,000 per day.

A Meta spokesperson said, “Our cookie consent controls provide people with greater control over their data, including a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where people can revisit and manage their decisions at any time, and we continue to develop and improve these controls.”

In September last year, the regulator fined Meta’s instant messaging service WhatsApp €225 million “for not being transparent about how it shared data with its parent company,” ZDNet reported.

Meta stock closed 2.6% up on Thursday. It gained another 0.9% in the extended trading session to end the day at $335.50.

Wall Street’s Take

On January 6, UBS (NYSE: UBS) analyst Lloyd Walmsley maintained a Buy rating on the stock and raised the price target to $440 from $425 (32.4% upside potential).

Last month, Nicolas Cote Colisson, an analyst with HSBC (NYSE: HSBC), upgraded the rating on Meta to Hold from Sell with a $300 price target (9.8% downside potential).

In a note, Cote Colisson said, “Meta’s investment case remains a fragile balance between risks of more regulation and new business opportunities. We still think the regulation risk to Meta’s business model remains high.”

Overall, the stock has a Strong Buy consensus rating based on 28 Buys and 5 Holds. The average Meta Platforms stock prediction of $408.70 implies 23% upside potential. Shares have gained 24.3% over the past year.

FB earnings release for the fourth quarter of 2021 is scheduled for February 2, 2022.

Website Traffic

TipRanks’ Website Traffic Tool, which uses data from SEMrush Holdings (NYSE: SEMR), the world’s biggest website usage monitoring service, offers insight into Meta’s performance.

According to the tool, compared to the previous year, Meta’s website traffic registered an 8.8% decline in global visits in November. Moreover, the website traffic has decreased 4.2% year-to-date against the same period last year.

Download the TipRanks mobile app now.

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