Twitter’s shares are in free fall after the social media giant decided to ban President Trump from their platform, causing an exodus of users that has investors in the company concerned.
From the New York Post:
Shares in the San Francisco-based company tumbled 7.5 percent to $47.60 as of 8:07 a.m. in the first premarket trading session after it booted Trump from the platform on Friday, saying his account posed a “risk of further incitement of violence” after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Twitter’s move against the outgoing president — whose account had more than 88 million followers — was the first permanent suspension for a head of state, and it’s likely to spark furious debate about the role tech companies play in regulating speech.
Pictured below, Twitter stock as of 12:27 PM EST:
Experts say Trump’s highly engaged following was valuable to the company, which will be hard to replace if the president is permanently banned from the platform.
“Trump has a very high and loyal following and a lot of those eyeballs will go away if Trump is permanently restricted from posting,” said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.
Twitter said the decision was made after some users of the site were planning armed protests, which included a second proposed attack on the U.S. Capitol building and some state Capitol buildings later this month.
Facebook made a similar decision to ban Trump, claiming “intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power.”
The conservative exodus from Twitter has opened the door to competition, mainly in the form of the Parler, a social networking site that vows to protect free speech. Big tech companies have noticed Parler’s growth and appeal, causing Apple and Google to remove the service from their app stores while Amazon booted the company from its cloud based server.
Parler CEO John Matze said in a statement that the service would be down “longer than expected” while the company tries to find a host.
“We will likely be down longer than expected,” Matze said. “This is not due to software restrictions — we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.”
“Most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us,” he continued. “We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.”