On Friday last week, Twitter suspended outgoing U.S. president Donald Trump to stop him from using the platform to incite further unrest among his supporters following the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol last week.
This decision has come with consequences for the tech company as thousands of people have said it violated Trump’s freedom of speech, and they are also reflected on the company’s share performance on the stock market.
On Monday January 11, 2021, shares of Twitter (TWTR) dropped 12.3% to reach as low as $45.17 per share after the social media company permanently banned Trump from the platform late last week.
Twitter, which had flagged some of Trump’s tweets as “disputed” for over two months following the November 3, 2020 election explained their decision to permanently ban him from the platform in a statement that reads in part thus:
“After a 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 incitement of violence.
“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.
“However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.”
The ban marked the sharpest escalation of Twitter’s crackdown on Trump’s posts on the platform, which over the last several months especially had been riddled with baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 elections.
Last week, Twitter, Facebook (FB), and Google-owned YouTube (GOOGL) took down a video of Trump calling for U.S. Capitol rioters to “go home,” but repeating uncorroborated claims that the election was fraudulent.
It is worth noting that Twitter is not the only social media site that took a stance against Trump. Facebook, Snapchat (SNAP), Twitch, Shopify, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Discord, Pinterest, as well as the online forum Reddit, which banned the subreddit “r/donaldtrump,” or its topic page dedicated to discussions about Trump, on Friday.
On Friday last week, Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) Parler, an app popular among conservatives and supporters of Trump, from their respective app stores after saying the company did not do enough to address violent threats on its platform.
Over the weekend, Parler’s website was also removed from Amazon which was hosting it on its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud servers, bringing the company offline without a server as of Monday.