Facebook, Twitter Score Big Wins on Election -- Tech Roundup

While there was a lot of shock on Wednesday morning as a result of the 2016 presidential election, one fact wasn't surprising: The surge that benefited social media. 

Companies like Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) saw an enormous uptick in activity thanks to this year's election. Facebook generated more than 700 million election day interactions and had video views of more than 640 million. 

For Twitter, the company saw its users generate 75 million tweets on election day, more than double the 31 million tweets sent on election day in 2012. 

Those are some big-time numbers for both companies and underscore what a huge platform social media has become for the election. Unfortunately for them - and perhaps fortunately for us - this type of event catalyst only comes once every four years. 

The question is, how much traffic will they generate next time and will another platform emerge in the meantime? 

Shares of Facebook closed at $123.18 Wednesday, down 0.8%, while Twitter closed at $19.13, up 4.1%. 


Alphabet's (GOOGL) drone ambition, dubbed Project Wing, saw an alteration on Wednesday. While it had previously partnered with Chipotle (CMG) to deliver burritos, its alliance with Starbucks (SBUX) no longer stands. 

It's not a difference of opinion, and no, the head of Project Wing didn't get the wrong Starbucks order. Instead, the company cut the partnership in an effort to reduce its overhead. 

In addition to parting ways with Starbucks, Google has halted hiring for the project and is also moving some of its employees to other projects. 

Not all that long ago, Google Fiber also saw a similar reduction. Jobs were cut or shifted, while new projects were put on hold until the unit could figure out a way to operate more efficiently.

Both units have potential, but Alphabet needs to find a way to keep its costs down on these long-term plays until a more financially responsible way of operation is found.

Thankfully for the company, it has CFO Ruth Porat, who's financial discipline has paved the way to Alphabet's improved financial performance and therefore, its strong stock performance as well. 

Shares of Alphabet closed at $805.59 Wednesday, down 0.8%.

Facebook, Alphabet and Starbucks are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells FB, GOOGLE or SBUX? Learn more now.
 


Is Facebook Flash the Snapchat killer?

At one point, Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for some $3 billion. Investors scoffed at the move, saying Facebook was drastically overpaying. But with a Snap IPO now on the table for next year and with its market cap expected to be north of $25 billion, it looks like CEO Mark Zuckerberg would have improved his record to 2-0 on social-media-steals-of-the-century, (Facebook had already purchased Instagram for a measly $1 billion). 

Given that Snapchat has had a rapid rise in popularity, Facebook has been trying to keep its users engaged with similar features, particularly on its Messenger and Instagram properties. 

However, the company's new Facebook Flash platform is gunning right for Snapchat, with its similar features intended for international markets. It's unclear how many markets this app will make it to and if Facebook plans on rolling it out in the U.S.

It seems that its future is probably dependent on how successful it is going forward. 

For now, it doesn't seem like Snapchat is going anywhere any time soon and while it makes sense for Facebook to mimic its features, it doesn't seem like enough to render Snapchat irrelevant.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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