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Investors are beginning to sour on some of the biggest tech companies since weekend revelations that data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed 50 million users' data through Facebook's platform. Stock prices were down for Facebook and its competitors — Google, Twitter, Snapchat — in light of the quickly-evolving scandal.

Why it matters: Calls for tighter regulation around user privacy and data transparency could completely upend the powerful business models around tech that have for years served as lucrative investment opportunities. This is the first time investors have reacted this strongly to a controversy around user privacy or election manipulation. Shares remained high for most of these firms throughout the Russia probe.

Expand chart
Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

Unsurprisingly, Facebook's reputation has been hit hardest by the scandal. The company lost $64 billion in market value since the story broke this past weekend, Axios' Dan Primack notes.

The concerns are particularly heightened for open platforms that can more easily be abused by bad actors. Some of the biggest tech companies, like Google, Facebook and Twitter are built to be easily accessible to users and developers around the world. This has allowed them to develop massive user bases and a lucrative marketing business that we are learning now can be exploited.

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).