Shares of Facebook Inc rose as much as 4.2 percent on Thursday, after Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said the social network had not seen any meaningful impact on usage or ad sales in the wake of a data privacy scandal.
The company's shares have sunk 16 percent, wiping more than $80 billion from its market value since March 16, when the New York Times and London's Observer newspaper broke news of the use of its data by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Data from Evercore ISI analysts confirmed Zuckerberg's claim, with Facebook having the top four most downloaded apps globally in March across more than 40 applications tracked in Android and iOS app stores.
Also, Facebook's social app downloads improved on a monthly basis both in the U.S. and globally, according to the data. Facebook expanded its share of social app downloads in March by 33.2 percent from 30.1 percent.
Several Wall Street analysts said the stock decline presented a good opportunity to buy into the social network's previously high-flying shares, although they cautioned that much will still depend on Zuckerberg's testimony to Congress next week.
Zuckerberg said on Wednesday he accepted blame for the data leak and should have done more to audit and oversee third-party app developers like the one that Cambridge Analytica hired in 2014.
He will testify about the matter next Tuesday and Wednesday during U.S. congressional hearings.
"While it's clear that investor sentiment has been materially impacted by (the) Cambridge Analytica revelations, we believe FB is acting proactively and aggressively to tighten its privacy controls and increase the level of transparency into its practices," Wells Fargo analyst Ken Sena said.
Facebook shares were up 2.6 percent at $159.23 in morning trade on Thursday.