Twitter and Facebook Stocks Dropped After Banning President Trump
by Yehudit Garmaise
The stock prices of both Twitter and Facebook fell sharply this morning, perhaps reflecting investors’ lack of support for the social networks' decisions to give President Trump the boot.
On Friday, Twitter released a statement that explained that the president’s account posed a risk of further incitement of violence after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Representatives of Twitter also said there were plans in the works on its platform and elsewhere for more armed protests, “including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on Jan. 17,” which is less than a week away.
Violent extremists' use of social media to organize such violent uprisings will probably lead Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies to intensify their content moderation efforts, which are not cheap, and perhaps not popular with investors.
This morning, Twitter shares fell 7.5% to $47.60 as of 8:07 am in the first premarket trading session after the social media giant banned for life President Trump, who had more than 88 million followers.
Twitter’s move to ban the president marked the first permanent suspension ever for a head of state, and the ban is likely to spark furious debate about the role tech companies play in regulating speech.
For instance, conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro tweeted, “Imagine if, in the midst of the massive BLM riots this summer, the entire tech infrastructure had de-platformed Facebook because some had used that app to plan events devolving into violence.
“People would rightly have called that an insane act of ideological fascism.”
Although Twitter and Facebook are known to have more left-wing leanings, the social media companies may lose users as a result of their banning Trump, as Trump supporters and right-wing activists pledge to boycott the companies’ decisions to ban the president.
“Trump has a very high and loyal following and a lot of those eyeballs will go away if Trump is permanently restricted from posting,” Andrea Cicione, who is the head of strategy at TS Lombard, a consulting firm that conducts independent economic and investment strategy research, told Reuters.
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