Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube all abandon Trump, and other notable stories from this week
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FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM BLOCK TRUMP: On January 7, Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a post on the site, said that 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." In that context, Facebook extended the block it placed on Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and "for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete."
Additionally, on January 11, Facebook said that in the wake of "last week's violence in Washington, D.C.," it was taking additional steps and using the same teams and technologies it used during the general election to stop misinformation and content that could incite further violence during these next few weeks. Facebook began removing content containing the phrase "stop the steal" under its Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram. It removed the original Stop the Steal group in November and has continued to remove Pages, groups, and events that violate any of the company's policies, including calls for violence.
TWITTER PERMANENTLY SUSPENDS TRUMP: Twitter (TWTR) said in a blog post: "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 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."
Furthermore, on January 11, Twitter said in a blog post that it suspended over 70,000 accounts as a result of its efforts to suspend certain accounts following the "horrific events in Washington, DC" last week. "We've been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm," the company said. "Since Friday, more than 70,000 accounts have been suspended as a result of our efforts, with many instances of a single individual operating numerous accounts."
While the decision to ban Trump caused Twitter's stock to drop from about $52 to about $47 per share, the stock was upgraded to Buy from Neutral with a price target of $60, up from $47, by MKM Partners this morning. Analyst Rohit Kulkarni said he believes sentiment towards Twitter shares has been quite negative, but he expects headwinds to reverse during 2021. As 2021 progresses, Kulkarni thinks Twitter will have the greatest incremental benefit vs. peers as brand advertisers accelerate ad spend and live events and product launches resume their normal cadence.
YOUTUBE SUSPENDS TRUMP'S ACCOUNT: On January 12, Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) YouTube announced it was suspending President Donald Trump's channel for at least one week, and potentially longer, after a recent video on Trump's channel incited violence, saying, "After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies. It now has its 1st strike & is temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a *minimum* of 7 days." That video was promptly removed, and comments have been disabled on all existing videos on the channel.
PARLER SUES AWS AFTER BEING CUT OFF: The Hill reported on January 11 that Parler is suing Amazon (AMZN) for antitrust violation, breach of contract, and unlawful business interference. Amazon over the weekend told the social media app that's become popular among conservatives and far-right extremists that it would be cut off from its Amazon Web Services hosting.
Amazon said that Parler's lawsuit has "no merit." Amazon's decision followed Google and Apple's (AAPL) decisions to remove Parler social media app from their app stores, citing a violation of terms.
Keywords: social stocks, social media, trump, ban, block, suspension, instagram, parler, aws