By Jennifer Martinez - 08/16/12 05:49 PM EDT
Facebook stock plummeted to a record low on Thursday after a lockup on more than 271 million of its shares expired.
The social network's shares fell nearly 7 percent after the market opened Thursday morning, and hit a new low of $19.69. By the early afternoon, Facebook's stock got a slight bump to just a few cents over $20 — nearly 50 percent below its debut stock price of $38 in May.
The expiration of the lockup allows some of the social network's early investors to begin selling their shares and is one in a series of lockups that will be lifted over the next few months. Around 64 million Facebook shares traded hands in the first hour of trading, Reuters reported.
Facebook's start as a publicly traded company has been a turbulent one. While the social network's IPO was highly anticipated on Wall Street, its May 18 debut was marred after Nasdaq struggled to process orders when trading kicked off. That spurred lawmakers to launch inquiries into the botched IPO.
Things haven't improved much for Facebook's stock since then. It shares have fallen from its initial stock price over the past few months and analysts have cast a wary eye on the financial health of the company.
The most anticipated lockup expiration date is set to come in November, when more than 1.2 billion shares will be freed up for investors to trade.