When the markets opened this week, the two most anti-Trump social networks posted a marked decline. Twitter lost a massive $5 billion in market value after the company decided to permanently ban President Donald Trump from the platform.
On Monday, at one point, the company’s stock fell by 12 percent to $45,17 following Friday’s announcement that the President would be permanently suspended from Twitter.
The company exaggerated the threat posed by President Trump’s tweets, claiming they risked “further incitement of violence” in light of recent “horrific events” at the Capitol Building.
After the recent events of the Capitol, two social networks decided to sanction the American president by suspending his account more or less permanently. Twitter outright banned him from its platforms while Facebook silenced him indefinitely. In addition to the various heads of state around the world, the Stock Exchange also sanctioned these dictatorial maneuvers, since the stocks of the two social networks plummeted.
A columnist of Capital observed that Twitter showed a decline of 8 percent and Facebook of 2 percent on Monday, January 11 in the morning. By early evening, the first had slightly halted its fall by hovering around 7 percent and a share value of 47 dollars. The second fell by nearly 4 percent at the same time, with a share value of $256. The columnist of Capital warned that it would be necessary to carefully monitor “the psychological impact on the American indices of the fall in the price of these values”. Indeed, according to him, “anything that can disrupt investors’ perception of a short or medium term value can generate more volatility”.
After this new censorship operation on the part of Facebook and Twitter, many European officials have spoken out against the two digital giants. Chancellor Angela Merkel, through her spokesperson, spoke of a “problematic” situation.
In Berlin on Monday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert also denounced the permanent suspension of the outgoing US President on Twitter: “The fundamental right to freedom of expression is a fundamental right of elementary importance.” According to the dpa news agency, he said: “This fundamental right can be interfered with, but within the framework of the law and within the framework defined by the legislator – not according to the decision of the management of social media platforms.”
Admittedly, the operators of the social networks have a great responsibility that political communication is not “poisoned” by hatred and lies, warned Seibert on behalf of the Chancellor. However, they have complied with this in the past weeks and months by making notes on corresponding entries and comments.
In France, the Minister of the Economy even said he was “shocked” by this measure. Even fierce opponents of Donald Trump, leftists Jean-Luc Mélenchon and François Ruffin worried about the “control” that the GAFA exercised over “the public debate”.
In a statement released on Friday, a Twitter spokesperson had said: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitements of violence.”
Facebook also followed Twitter’s lead by suspending Trump for at least the remainder of his presidency.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued statement maintaining that President Trump has “clearly demonstrated” his intent to use his remaining time in office to “undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden”.
Zuckerberg then accused the President of inciting unlawful actions: “The risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.” Trump will be suspended “for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete”.
President Trump has been accused of inciting violence at the January 6 rally, however, a video from the rally clearly shows the President explicitly calling for a “peaceful” gathering.
But it appears as if Twitter will continue its historic purge. On Monday, it escalated the ban of tens of thousands of conservative voices, with “steps taken to protect the conversation on our service from attempts to incite violence, organize attacks, and share deliberately misleading information about the election outcome”.
According to Twitter, “more than 70 000 accounts have been suspended” because these were “dedicated to the propagation” of a “conspiracy theory”. President Trump’s follower count represents 47 percent of Twitter’s daily active users.
Trump had 88 million followers on Twitter, the 6th most followed account. On Facebook he had over 33 million followers. His account averaged 34 tweets per day in 2020 − up from 21 in 2019.
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