A worrisome earnings report and outlook on Wednesday sent the stock crashing 20%, wiping out more than $120 billion in value. Facebook's earnings report, which posted underwhelming revenue and flat user growth, echoed across the tech sector with Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report , Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report and Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report each dipping about 1-3% after-hours on Wednesday. On Thursday afternoon, shares of Amazon were down about 2.7%, while Apple, Alphabet and Netflix were roughly flat.
The FANG stocks are bound together not necessarily by similar business models, but by the fact of their dominance and the many ETFs that bundle them together.
But scrutiny into Facebook's decelerating revenue, slowing user growth and ongoing data issues could cast an unflattering light on other Internet companies where eyeballs, data and engagement are paramount.
One issue for Facebook and other internet giants is changing regulatory standards around how data is handled, namely Europe's recently-implemented GDPR. But another is the onerous task of cleaning up their data use standards, undesirable content and foreign-bought political ads, all subjects of escalating criticism since 2016.
"Yes, GDPR impacted European subscriber growth and they were already slowing in the U.S., but that isn't really the reason for the share price reaction," said Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. "Instead, it's because they are doing so many things to make the experience better for users, such as weeding out spam and hateful posts, monitoring political ads to make them more transparent, improving and enhancing safety/privacy/security."
"We're investing so much in security, that it will significantly impact our profitability," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company's call with analysts on Wednesday. "We're starting to see that this quarter."
Similar efforts could affect social media companies such as Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report that struggle with comparable safety, security and fake account issues. But not all tech stocks are created equal.
"The other guys have their own problems, and GDPR will impact them as well," Pachter added.
Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) are up more than 5% since the company reported impressive earnings on Monday. Amazon reports on Thursday after the close, and Apple is scheduled to report next Tuesday, July 31.