Is Facebook an Attractive Investment?

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With shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) trading around $53, is FB an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Facebook is engaged in building social products in order to create utility for users, developers, and advertisers. People use Facebook to stay connected with their friends and family, to discover what is going on in the world around them, and to share and express what matters to them with the people they care about. Developers can use the Facebook platform to build applications and websites that integrate with Facebook to reach its global network of users, building personalized and social products. Advertisers can engage with more than 900 million monthly active users on Facebook — or subsets of its users — based on information they have chosen to share.

Last week, Princeton released a widely-cited but pretty flawed study saying that Facebook will lose 80 percent of its users between 2015 and 2017. On Thursday, Facebook responded by using Princeton’s methodology to prove that Princeton will lose all of its students by 2021, and the Earth will in fact run out of air by 2060. In a Facebook post titled “Debunking Princeton,” Facebook used Princeton’s “correlation equals causation” idea on the university itself to show that just because Princeton says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. The Princeton study is flawed for several reasons. It uses a strange epidemiology metaphor likening Facebook to a virus that Facebook users will eventually “recover” from. Just because Facebook can be addicting and takes up more of our time than many people are proud of, it doesn’t mean the social media site actually operates like a sickness.

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