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Facebook’s Slide Continues as Stock Price Hits 2018 Low

Social network has now dropped 30 percent on the year behind internal missteps and plateauing user growth

Facebook’s year from hell is only getting worse as 2018 draws to a close, with shares of the social network’s stock falling 5.5 percent on Friday morning to hit a new yearly low.

The drop in early-morning trading sunk Facebook to $126.10 per share, marking its 52-week low. After opening 2018 north of $181 per share, Facebook is now down 30 percent on the year.

The latest decline follows a report from The New York Times earlier this week revealed Facebook gave privileged data access to hundreds of partners, including giving Spotify and Netflix the ability to read and even delete user messages.

Facebook admitted on Tuesday night it gave special access, but said it was only done after users had consented by signing in with third-party apps. Netflix and Spotify, in statements to TheWrap, said the companies never looked at user messages.

The report added to a list of high-profile controversies that have hit Facebook in 2018. The company was rocked in March following the Cambridge Analytica data leak, where up to 87 million users had their profile information unwittingly accessed by the political data firm. CEO Mark Zuckerberg took responsibility for the issue when he testified before Congress in April, saying the company didn’t “deserve” its users if it couldn’t protect their data.

It wouldn’t be the last mea culpa from Facebook, however. The company announced the search history and phone numbers of 30 million users were left vulnerable to hackers in September. Facebook was also criticized for hiring an opposition research firm to target financier George Soros — something Zuckerberg said he “didn’t know” the company had done until last month.

Facebook’s stock, after initially taking a beating following the Cambridge Analytica report, rebounded to hit a new all-time high of about $220 per share in July. Those gains have been erased behind investor concerns over the company’s internal missteps and plateauing user growth.