Twitter Inc. shares fell 7% in pre-market trading after the social media platform permanently banned outgoing President Donald Trump.
The company confirmed its decision in a blog post on Friday, saying Trump’s tweets breached policies by risking incitement to violence. It cited his posts on the riots in the U.S. capital last week.
It’s a watershed moment for technology platforms that have faced conflicting pressures on one hand to restrict misinformation and hate speech, and defend free speech on the other.
Twitter was Trump’s preferred channel for amplifying attacks on his rivals, spreading conspiracies and provoking other nations during his four years in power.
Mirabaud analyst Neil Campling said the ban shows the company is making editorial decisions, and opens the door to more regulation of social media under the next administration.
“In the U.S., it’s about how are these companies being regulated, are they regulated, should they be regulated?” Campling said by phone.
What’s more, Trump is “the most popular character” on the platform, he added.
Twitter’s move, just days before Trump is due to leave office, followed a suspension of the president by Facebook Inc., whose founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Trump’s most recent posts showed he intended to use his remaining time in office to undermine a peaceful and lawful transition of power.
Twitter had also suspended Trump on Wednesday for posting a series of tweets that misled users about the presidential election results, and appeared to encourage violent rioters who had mobbed the U.S. Capitol. One included a video message of Trump expressing love for the insurgents and calling the election “fraudulent.”
Following the ban on @realDonaldTrump, Trump sent a tweet late Friday from the separate account @POTUS, which belongs to the office of the president and has about 33 million followers.
“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me,” read the post, which has since been removed from view.