Facebook's first investors and some of its directors can sell 271 million shares of the social network on Thursday, according to security filings, as Facebook's initial public offering "lock-up" period ends.
The lock-up period prevents insiders from unloading shares too near an IPO, generally 90 days after the stock debuts, according to the Associated Press. And if they do unload all their shares, that could mean a flooding of the market and a plunging stock price. Facebook stock has already fallen from its $38 IPO price in May to $20.38 Aug. 14. In the next few months, a total of 1.9 billion shares could be on the block -- more than four times the existing 421 million shares that have been trading on the stock market.
While the investors and directors may not sell, there's certainly no guarantee they won't.