Skip to main content

Tech Stocks Roundup: Apple, Facebook vs. Sexting, Nude Photos

Check out the latest news and performance numbers from the top technology and FAANG/MAMAA stocks like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and more.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report is modifying its anti-sexting tool to protect child iPhone users from nude images in a feature that will notify underage users before they send or open a text message with nude photos.

But the company now says the tool will not also notify the child's parents about explicit images. The decision has been met with a mixed response from child safety and privacy advocates.

“They should have kept parental notifications for kids under 13. There’s no reason we should ask an 11-year-old to keep herself safe online," the Wall Street Journal quoted Stephen Balkam, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Family Online Safety Institute, as saying in a published report.

The new feature, which is expected to roll out this month in iOS 15.2, is in response to an increase in sexually explicit activity among pre-teens using mobile devices. 

The survey polled 1,000 kids ages 9 to 17 in both 2020 and 2019. In 2020, 21% of the 9- to 12-year-olds surveyed said that it is normal for kids their age to share nudes, up from 13% the year before.

TheStreet Recommends: How the Long Tech Rally Evolved

Apple will Notify kids, but not Parents, About Nude Photos

However, some advocates see a problem with notifying parents of their kids' activities. “The idea of notifying parents of kids under 13 operates with the assumption that there’s a relationship with the child that is safe,” said Elissa Redmiles, a privacy scholar and faculty member at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems told the Journal. 

But, Apple isn't the only Silicone Valley tech company looking to curb the spread of sexual images among children with Meta Platforms (the recently renamed Facebook)  (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report entering partnerships with 50 non-governmental organizations to stop the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (NCII).

Facebook Takes on Revenge Porn

Meta is supporting the launch of StopNCII.org with the UK Revenge Porn Helpline and other organizations to stop the explicit images. "At the heart of the work developing this tool have been the needs of victims and survivors by putting them in control without having to compromise their privacy," said Sophie Mortimer, manager for the Revenge Porn Helpline.

StopNCII.org builds on technology developed by Facebook and Instagram's NCII Pilot that was started in 2018 to help victims stop the proliferation of their intimate images. 

The tool, which launched last week, asks Facebook users to share the potential offending images with the company for the company to bar the image from being shared on any of its platforms.

As part of the submission process, users must confirm that they are in the image. The video or photo is then converted into a unique digital fingerprint which will be given to participating companies, including Facebook and Instagram. 

Donald Trump Media SPAC Digital World Acquisition In SEC Probe Linked To Merger

Digital World Acquisition Corp.  (DWACU) - Get Digital World Acquisition Corp. Report, the so-called blank check group tied to former President Donald Trump's nascent media company, is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said Monday.

Digital World said it is cooperating with the request, which also included the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, while describing them as "preliminary, fact-finding inquiries" linked to its merger with the former President's Trump Media & Technology Group.

The merger followed Trump's plans to return to social media through the launch of a new app dubbed "Truth Social," which he called a "rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the Big Tech companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America."

Trump was banned from many of the major social media platforms -- including Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report and Facebook -- for his role in the riot and storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6 in a failed effort to overturn his election defeat to President Joe Biden.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

Here is a breakdown list of the technology and FAANG/MAMAA stocks to watch right now based on their performance over the past week:

Meta Platforms in Bear Market, but Morningstar Says It's Undervalued

The Menlo Park, Calif., social-media giant is still up 12% year to date amid strong financial performance. Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi puts fair value for Meta/Facebook at $404. “We have not changed our view on Meta and continue to rate it a wide-moat firm with a solid network effect and intangible assets as economic moat sources,” he wrote Oct. 29, after the company changed its name from Facebook.

Meta's photo and video sharing app Instagram is encouraging users to create a new second account to stay in touch with a smaller group of friends. Users can access the prompt that allows them to create a second account by pressing the profile icon for a few seconds. Basically, the app wants people to have one account that's for a broader audience and one that's for a much tighter circle (where more personal or sensitive information might be shared).

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) as a Buy with a rating score of B+.

Apple Stock Jumps As KeyBanc Opens Coverage With 'Overweight' Rating, $191 Price Target

Apple shares moved higher Monday after analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets initiated coverage of the world's biggest tech company with an 'overweight' rating and a $191 price target. KeyBanc analyst Brandon Nispel argued Apple is growing its user base across all of its products and geographies, which should fuel growth in the group's key services unit while adding value to the broader Apple ecosystem. 

Apple CFO Luca Maestri told investors in late October that the company installed base hit a record high in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in September, but did not disclose a specific figure. Analysts peg it at around 1.65 billion units, while Nispel puts the iPhone tally at around 1 billion. Services revenues over the quarter rose 25.6% to a record $18.28 billion, while iPhone revenues surged 47% to $38.9  billion. 

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Apple as a Buy with a rating score of A.

Morgan Stanley: Amazon Has a Billion-Dollar Opportunity in 2022 

Amazon’s  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report investments in storage and logistics networks ate away at its cash flows throughout 2021. But Amazon may have found a new solution to its e-commerce struggles: increasing FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) fees. Morgan Stanley’s Brian Nowak believes that changes in this fee structure could generate an extra $1 billion of EBIT. FBA is Amazon’s storage and logistics service for sellers. 

FBA is Amazon’s storage and logistics service for sellers. Businesses dispatch their merchandise to Amazon fulfillment centers. Then, when a customer makes a purchase, Amazon packs and ships the order. Finally, businesses receive the sale value of the order, minus a fee for FBA services. The bad news for sellers, but the good news for shareholders, is that this fee, which has historically been in the 2-3% range, will now be hiked to 5.2%. Nowak estimates FBA fees generated $45 billion in revenue in 2021.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Amazon as a Buy with a rating score of B.

DoorDash Takes On Amazon, Walmart With Quick-Service Plan in NYC

DoorDash  (DASH) - Get DoorDash, Inc. Class A Report announced a 10- to 15-minute delivery service in New York City, as it seeks to compete with Amazon, Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, and big grocery chains. “Today, we are excited to announce new, direct-to-your-door grocery and convenience offerings for New Yorkers, with ultra-fast grocery deliveries from DashMart locations,” the company said in a statement.

“In addition to expanding access to groceries and other essentials for New Yorkers, we are helping local merchants, especially women- and people of color-owned businesses, extend their reach by connecting them with new customers." DoorDash also is looking to hire its own delivery staff, rather than relying exclusively on freelancers.

The Street Quant Ratings does not have a rating for DoorDash.

Samsung, Microsoft Sued by Caltech Over Alleged Patent Infringement

California Institute of Technology filed a federal lawsuit against Samsung Electronics  (SSNLF)  alleging that the electronics and computer-peripherals giant infringed its wi-fi patents. Caltech said in a complaint filed on Friday in a Texas federal court that Samsung's Galaxy phones, tablets, and watches use wi-fi chips that infringe five of its data-transmission patents, Reuters reported.

Caltech also sued Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report in West Texas for allegedly infringing four of the patents earlier this year. That case has been paused until the federal circuit rules on Apple and Broadcom's appeal. The school's lawsuit against Microsoft said the company's Surface tablets and laptops and Xbox videogame systems infringe. Microsoft has denied the allegations and argued the patents are invalid.

The Street Quant Ratings rates Microsoft as a Buy with a rating score of A+.

Google Parent Alphabet Indefinitely Delays Plans for Workers' Return to Office

Alphabet’s  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google is indefinitely delaying plans for workers to return to the office, given the spread of the omicron Covid variant and some worker opposition to company-mandated vaccinations. In August, the tech giant said it expected staffers to come on-site about three days a week starting Jan. 10 at the earliest, which would have ended its voluntary work-from-home policy.

But the company wrote Thursday in an email to full-time workers, obtained by CNBC, that it would wait until next year to determine when offices can safely return to a “stable, long-term working environment.”

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Alphabet as a Buy with a rating score of A.

DocuSign Stock: Cathie Wood's Ark Swoops In and Buys the Dip

Cathie Wood of Ark Investment Management believes in buying the dip: Ark grabbed 746,964 shares of DocuSign  (DOCU) - Get DocuSign, Inc. Report as the e-signature company plunged this past week. The company was valued at $100.9 million as of Friday's close and $106.7 million in recent trading. ARK’s flagship fund, ARK Innovation ETF  (ARKK) - Get ARK Innovation ETF Report purchased 461,662 shares, ARK Next Generation Internet ETF  (ARKW) - Get ARK Next Generation Internet ETF Report accounted for 178,334 shares, and Ark Fintech Innovation ETF  (ARKF) - Get ARK Fintech Innovation ETF Report snatched 106,968, shares.

Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff thinks DocuSign’s drop was overdone, too. "We are lowering our fair value estimate for narrow-moat DocuSign to $244 per share, from $290, as we have adjusted our model based on near-term guidance, which reduces our growth forecast over the next several years,” he wrote in a commentary.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates DocuSign as a Hold with a rating score of C-.