Shares of Twitter (TWTR) sank more than 10% on Monday after the social media company permanently banned President Donald Trump from the platform late last week.The tech company suspended Trump’s account on Friday in a move to prevent him from using the platform to incite further unrest among his supporters following the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol last week, according to Twitter. Shortly after market open Monday, the stock dropped as much as 12.3% to reach as low as $45.17 per share.
The context, rather than just the content, of some of Trump’s latest tweets suggested “they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Twitter wrote in a statement explaining its decision. In one Tweet, Trump asserted that his supporters would “not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way,” and in another, noted he would not be attending the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, suggesting the event “would be a ‘safe’ target, as he will not be attending,” Twitter added.
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 year, Twitter began flagging some of Trump’s tweets with a disclaimer calling his assertions of election fraud “disputed.” And last week, Twitter, along with Facebook (FB) and Google-owned YouTube (GOOGL), took down a video of Trump calling for U.S. Capitol rioters to “go home,” but repeating unsubstantiated claims that the “election was stolen from us.”
Other social media sites also took a harder-line stance against Trump and other accounts that spread misinformation in the last several days, in a watershed moment for some platforms that had previously abdicated responsibility over regulating much of the content users posted on their sites. Facebook (FB) blocked Trump’s accounts on both Facebook and Instagram at least until the end of his term, extending the ban after what had been a 24-hour block of his account after Wednesday’s violence in Washington. Snap (SNAP) also joined in blocking Trump from posting to Snapchat. Shares of Facebook and Snap also declined more than 1% in overnight trading.
Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) on Friday removed 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. Amazon (AMZN) said it would no longer host Parler on Amazon Web Services over the weekend, bringing the company offline without a server as of Monday. And the online forum Reddit also banned the subreddit “r/donaldtrump,” or its topic page dedicated to discussions about Trump, on Friday. Shares of Twitter have declined nearly 5% for 2021 to-date, but were higher by 57% over the past 12 months through Friday’s close.