The social media giant suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours on Wednesday evening after Washington, DC, was plunged into chaos as hundreds of the president’s followers staged riots both outside and within the halls of Congress.
Twitter’s share price slipped 1.8 percent by closing bell on Thursday – a drop perceived to be related to its actions against Trump.
Meanwhile Facebook – which went far further than Twitter with an ‘indefinite’ suspension on Trump’s account – saw its shares rise by two percent on Thursday, mirroring a broader surge among top tech stocks.
The difference between the companies’ showings likely stemmed from the fact that Trump’s presence on Twitter has a much bigger impact on its bottom line, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The 89 million followers on Trump’s main Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, represented nearly 48 percent of the company’s total base of monetizable daily active users at the end of the third quarter.
Facebook has a much larger base of 1.8 billion daily active users, and less than two percent of them – 35 million – are followers of Trump.
Twitter shares fell after the site temporarily banned President Donald Trump for his dangerous rhetoric when a mob of MAGA fans stormed the US Capitol at his behest. The 89 million followers on Trump’s main Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, represent nearly 48 percent of the company’s total base of monetizable daily active users
Twitter’s share price slipped 1.8 percent by closing bell on Thursday
Facebook – which went far further than Twitter with an ‘indefinite’ suspension on Trump’s account – saw its shares rise by two percent on Thursday, mirroring a broader surge among top tech stocks
Washington was plunged into chaos as hundreds of the president’s followers staged riots both outside and within the halls of Congress
Twitter’s stock losses on Thursday reflect investors broader concerns about what the platform will be in a post-President Trump world, WSJ reported.
It comes as the site faces other uncertainties with engagement, which skyrocketed in 2020 amid a volatile political climate and the coronavirus pandemic.
Now that COVID-19 vaccines have arrived and a more moderate president is taking office, Twitter is expected to see engagement drop precipitously, closer to where it was early last year.
Twitter has long had a tumultuous relationship with Trump, who has repeatedly skirted its rules regarding misinformation and harmful content (file photo)
Twitter has long had a tumultuous relationship with Trump, who has repeatedly skirted its rules regarding misinformation and harmful content.
The company avoided suspending Trump entirely until Wednesday’s violence, fearing the backlash that would inevitably follow silencing one of the world’s most influential figures.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was a video the president posted telling his supporters inside the Capitol that he loves them and understands their frustrations – with a plea to ‘go home’ thrown in.
In the video Trump also reiterated his baseless allegations that the presidential election was stolen from him. Over the past few months Twitter has on multiple occasions flagged Trump’s tweets with those claims.
Trump was reportedly livid at being blocked from Twitter, and complained to aides that he could not send messages to his followers, sources told the Daily Beast.
He allegedly claimed his ban was an example of Big Tech firms trying to silence him.
His account remained suspended for about 12 hours before being reinstated on Thursday.
Trump posted a video (above) on Twitter on Thursday night after his account was reinstated
Facebook, however, stood firm on its suspension of the president’s Facebook and Instagram account, which will remain in place at least until the end of his term on January 20.
In an extraordinary blog post, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accused Trump of using the platform ‘to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government’.
Zuckerberg said the president used his Facebook page ‘to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building’ and that allowing him to freely post in the final 13 days of his term would pose too great a risk.
‘The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,’ he wrote.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accused Trump of using the platform ‘to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government’ on Thursday
In the 13 days left in his presidency, Trump will not be able to communicate to his more than 35.2 million followers on Facebook
‘His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world.
‘We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect – and likely their intent – would be to provoke further violence.
Less than two percent of Facebook’s daily active users – 35 million – follow Trump (file photo)
‘Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms.
‘Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies.
‘We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.
‘But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.’
Zuckerberg concluded: ‘We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.
‘Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.’