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We dumped social media stocks, it's 'time for them to pay' for harm done to the country: Money manager

Key Points
  • It's just time for social media companies "to pay" after being "willfully blind" in the Russian 2016 U.S. election meddling, Ross Gerber says.
  • Social media use has peaked because "I think we're all spending a lot less time on social media for our health," says the money manager.
Tech leaders have been given a pass on their morals for too long, says Ross Gerber

Social media companies were "willfully blind" to Russia's misinformation campaign undermining the 2016 U.S. election, and it's time to dump stocks in the industry, money manager Ross Gerber told CNBC.

The co-founder and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management thinks Facebook, Facebook-owned Instagram and Twitter are a liability and predicts things could get worse for the industry.

"I think we've all given tech leaders a pass on their morals for way too long," Gerber said Tuesday on "Closing Bell." "They have acted incredibly to the detriment of this country. ... It's just time for them to pay."

Two new reports found that Facebook and Twitter, along with Alphabet's Google, did "the bare minimum" to comply with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian misinformation on their platforms.

Facebook responded to the reports, saying, in part, "Congress and the intelligence community are best placed to use the information we and others provide to determine the political motivations of actors like the [Russian] Internet Research Agency." It said it it will continue to "fully cooperate."

In a statement provided to CNBC, the platform said it has "made progress in helping prevent interference on our platforms during elections ... and funded independent research on the impact of social media on democracy."

Twitter said in a statement its "singular focus is to improve the health of the public conversation on our platform" and that it has made significant strides since 2016 "to counter manipulation of our service."

In addition to the problems caused by Russian influence, Gerber said he thinks social media's popularity has reached a ceiling and usage could be on a downturn.

"We do think social media use has peaked with the advent of inventions like Screen Time," an app that can be used to limit device usage, he said. "I think we're all spending a lot less time on social media for our health."

Facebook has had a rough year of negative headlines about the company's handling of its users data and privacy. Shares of the company are down nearly 20 percent on the year and nearly 35 percent from a 52-week high set in July. Twitter stock, on the other hand, has gained 40 percent in 2018 but is off about 30 percent from a 52-week high it reached in June.