At the beginning of 2018, FAANG, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google never looked hotter, but as the year progressed their popularity fizzled out.
Alphabet, the parent company for Google, stocks rose 30 percent in 2017 and the other four tech giants stocks rose a whopping 50 percent. For Facebook and Apple, 2017 was their biggest year of the decade.
But 2018 was not kind to these tech firms, some losing due to privacy scandals and misinformation regulation.
Facebook had a year full of scandal, congress hearings, and mismanagement. The social network lost 25.7 percent of its stock share and ended the year at $131.09.
Public opinion over the company fell out of favor after the company hit several snags due to misinformation and user’s privacy concerns. For a brief period, users felt so sour toward the company that they used rival social media sites to start a #deletefacebook movement.
Most recently the NYT reported how Facebook circumvented the privacy wall to give premier access to user data to other tech giants such as Amazon and Yahoo. The report provides a clear-cut picture of the social networks data sharing practices and just how valuable personal data has become to the most powerful companies.
This comes after several congressional hearings about the mismanagement of user’s data during the 2016 U.S. election and Facebook’s involvement and knowledge of Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook has had a busy year pushing back, but I’m sure they are looking forward to the coming year.
The biggest winner in 2018 saw its stock rise by almost 28 percent. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also rose to become the richest man in the world, ending the year at a staggering $160 billion.
It began the year looking to expand into other markets such as health care and Media, also moved into retail, launching its brick and mortar stores. It had a busy year deciding where to build its two new headquarters, ultimately investing $5 billion in New York City and Arlington, Virginia.
But it’s not like Amazon came out of the year unscathed, several congressional leaders, as well as President Trump, have called for an investigation in anti-trust laws for the company. They also ended their year weaker than expected, losing 20 percent of their stock in September and weaker sales during the holidays due to a volatile market.
Apple began the year as the first company whose stock passed the 1 trillion market cap, a historic feat that didn’t last long. Apple’s stock closed at 7 percent less than the previous year.
The Tech giant managed to avoid scrutiny over misinformation and privacy issues but its announcement that it would stop reporting individual unit sales and revenue sales for the Iphones cause their worst day of trading for 2018.
Things are not looking good for Apple in 2019 either. The company warned investors that holiday sales will be worse than expected due to constant battles with Chinese competitors and Trumps tariffs.
Netflix had a good year, they gained 40 percent.
They produced plenty of original programming such a hit movie birdbox to compete with Hulu, Amazon, HBO, and Disney which will soon have their own streaming service.
But they do borrow and burn through a lot of cash which could give them a disadvantage in the coming year.
Google ( Alphabet)
Google ended the year down 1 percent, leaving it almost even to 2017.
Google suffered its own privacy issues with the public and was forced to attend a congressional hearing. They also received backlash from their own employees about handling misconduct and discrimination practices.
A minimal loss this year could mean a better year in 2019.