Alphabet shares tumbled lower on Monday diving to a low of 1,135 as news that the company is closing its Google+ social network was reported. It appears that a software bug in the Google+ technology provided third-parties with access to private user information. This was reported by Alphabet in a blog post. Alphabet discovered that there was an issue with Google+ during a review of third-party development.
The company reported that Google plus exposed customer names, birth dates and email addresses of more than half-a-million users. The information was delivered to customers who had apps that had a programing interface with Google+ through an API. The company revealed that 438 apps had access to this information. Alphabet also reported that they have found no evidence that this information was misused.
What is Concerning Investors?
What is concerning to investors is that Alphabet did not disclose this information immediately after it found the breach. The Wall Street Journal reported that Alphabet’s legal team warned executives that the news of a breach would cause regulatory interest and generate comparisons to Facebook.
Alphabet is not the only company that has faced issues this summer. Facebook has drawn the ire of regulators. Congressional committees attacked the way the company handled its privacy practices during the 2016 election which was a widely discussed topic. When Facebook and Twitter was called in front of Congress during the summer, Google said that their CEO would not attend the hearing. They were willing to send a proxy but congress turned down their offer.
Alphabet, in its defense, said that it notifies users of privacy issues and bugs in their code when they perceive that the data is being misused. They claim that the recent data breach did not rise to this level and that is why they did not immediately inform their customers.
Alphabet is handling this issue by shutting down the Google+ social media platform. Google+ will be removed during the next 10-months according to the company but it will continue to maintain the enterprise used by its G Suite business customers. Google+ is relatively small compared to social media giant Facebook. Google launched the platform in 2011 but it never gained widespread appeal. According to Alphabet, Google+ has low usage and engagement is less than 5-seconds for 90% of the customers that use the product.
Alphabet Prices Tumble
Google trading was also under pressure as US yields increased following the US jobs report. The 10-year US yield surged to 3.25% while the 2-year yields moved to a 10-year high of 2.9%. Stronger bond yields are weighing on riskier assets which is creating headwinds for Google.
Google, as well as Facebook shares were under pressure. But Google was able to hold support near an upward sloping trend line. Momentum on the stock price turned negative as the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) index generated a crossover sell signal. The MACD histogram is printing in the black with a declining trajectory which points to lower prices.