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FAANG Report: Google questioned on how it uses kids' data; Apple pays US$15.4bn tax bill to Ireland

Apple pays European tax bill; Amazon is now the third largest digital ad platform in the US; Facebook gets a price cut forecast while Netflix stock seen rising

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Google being questioned about use by children of Youtube.

Two lawmakers from the US Congress are asking the CEO of Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to provide information how its subsidiary YouTube collects data on child users, a report by Cnet said.

Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Republican Jeff Fortenberry said in their letter Sundar Pichai that YouTube's data collection practices "may not be in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998," a federal law regulating user data collection from sites with users under 13 years old.

In April, 23 child adovcacy, privacy and consumer groups complained to the Federal Trade Commission that Google is collecting data on child viewers younger than 13 without obtaining parental consent. The information is then sold to advertising services to create targeted ads, the complaint said.

Shares of google were easier by 0.24% at US$1,158.45.

FAANG Report: Google challenges EU on right to be forgotten

Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) is now the third largest digital ad platform in the US and it is closing in on rivals such as Google and Facebook, a report by CNBC said.

Market research company eMarketer estimates the company will pull in US$4.61bn in US digital ad revenue in 2018, accounting for about 4.15% of the US digital ad market, the report said.

The increase is partially due to more people starting their online product searches on Amazon, rather than Google. Amazon has also grown its mobile advertising business 242% since last year, it added. 

Amazon stock declined 1.27% to US$1,916.37.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) has paid off its US$15.4bn Irish tax bill and the European Union has withdrawn its lawsuit now that the full amount is in an escrow holding account, a report by Engadget said.

Aside from the back taxes, an additional US$1.4bn in interest has gone into the escrow account pending the appeal of Dublin and Apple against the EU ruling.

The EU said Ireland's tax break to Apple in 2016 was illegal as it gave the company a "significant advantage" over its competition. Ireland is seeking an annulment of the decision in European courts.

Apple shares were down by 0.9% at US$216.30.

READ: Apple's dual sim feature on new iPhones could boost market share in China but prices a test, says Oppenheimer

Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) price target and estimates were cut by investment bank JP Morgan because rising expenses will reduce its earnings, a report by CNBC said.

Analyst Dough Anmuth said in a note to clients they were lowering its price target to US$195 from US$205, and pruned its forecast for earnings per share to US$7.40 from US$7.89.

Facebook's "investments in 2019 could be larger than anticipated in consensus estimates. We expect the narrative of heavy investment spending to continue at 3Q earnings," he said.

Shares of Facebook slipped 0.3% to US$159.84.

Shares of Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) were given a boost when Guggenheim Securities raised its price target for the company, saying the production of locally-produced content will spur demand in India, a separate report by CNBC said.

Analyst Michel Morris said: “We expect the 3Q launch of original local-market content in India, upgrades to user experience and consumer products development to support share appreciation."

The firm raised its price target to US$420 from US$360 for Netflix shares. "We believe that Netflix subscriber penetration will significantly exceed what is implied in the company's current valuation," Michael Morris said in a note to clients on Wednesday.

Netflix stock retreated 1.28% to US$362.96.

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