Twitter, Facebook: $51 billion erased

Glad to see it:

Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have collectively seen $51.2 billion in combined market value wiped out over the last two trading sessions since they banned President Donald Trump from their platforms following the U.S. Capitol breach.

It’s possible they had nothing but good intentions and really did believe they were going to prevent harm to life and property:

User reports of violent content jumped more than 10-fold from the morning, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal. A tracker for user reports of false news surged to nearly 40,000 reports an hour, about four times recent daily peaks. On Instagram, the company’s popular photo-sharing platform, views skyrocketed for content from authors in “zero trust” countries, reflecting potential efforts at platform manipulation by entities overseas.

Facebook’s platforms were aflame, the documents show. One Instagram presentation, circulated internally and seen by the Journal, was subtitled “Why business as usual isn’t working.”

Company leaders feared a feedback loop, according to people familiar with the matter, in which the incendiary events in Washington riled up already on-edge social-media users—potentially leading to more strife in real life.

It’s also possible, and this is my hypothesis, they had preconceived notions of the morality of President Trump and anyone who supports him. When they saw an upsurge in chatter that supported him they read any ambiguous, and perhaps even neutral, language as threatening. That is, there was a confirmation bias.

My evidence in support of this comes from the same article quoted above:

By Monday, Facebook said it would prohibit all content containing the phrase “stop the steal”—a slogan popular among Trump supporters who back his efforts to overturn the election—and that it would keep the emergency measures that it had activated the day of the Capitol assault in place through Inauguration Day.

Stop the steal”? Really? That is the sole basis for banning a Facebook post?

These people need to be taught a lesson. A $51 billion lesson is a good start. Facebook has a Market Cap of about $717 B. Twitter about $37 B. When they’ve lost another combined $200 B (a third of their total value) then I’d be willing to consider the possibility they had learned the lesson.

The next time they come up with an excuse to ban people for engaging in innocent protected speech I would be inclined to see them on street corners holding signs that say, “Will code for food.”

14 thoughts on “Twitter, Facebook: $51 billion erased

  1. How will all these tech companies react when they realize that Trump is the president for the next four years? They just demonstrated they will play politically partisan games to silence and crush those they oppose, and a man who said his favorite thing was REVENGE will still be POTUS. At the very least there will be some very strong new regulation. In other nations I expect either more regulation, nationalization of the domestic portions of the company, or outright banning. We are already seeing things in Poland, where they basically said that companies like Twitter and Facebook CANNOT ban someone for anything that does not violate Polish law. I expect this will soon extend explicitly to web-hosting and payment processing services as well if it doesn’t do that already (the article I read on it was brief, and I don’t speak or read Polish to know for certain). Other nations will follow suit, I’m sure.

    In the meantime, I would not be surprised to see PornHub start to branch out and become the most reliable got-to web-hosting company and payment processor for potentially controversial websites or business. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? The hard right joining forces with PornHub to defeat the radical left? They might have better luck if they spin off a sister company that only works with conservative-sensitive web sites. Or maybe over time it would result in a reverse-SJW-convergence by the Christian Right…. Weird thoughts, man… weird thoughts.

    • You know, you keep saying Trump’s going to pull a Presidency out of his hat, but y’know, I’m not seeing it here.

      What’re you basing this on?

      • I saw something about Q that was shortly followed up by an article about gold fringe.

        I’ll believe it when I see it. Maybe. (Deepfakes are getting pretty good.)

      • Um, yes, I wonder too.
        Given where we are in the Constitutional process, even if you assume that both Biden and Harris somehow get disqualified, that doesn’t help Trump. His term ends at noon on January 20th. His successor is the president-elect. If he is disqualified things get interesting under the 20th Amendment, because it says that then the VP-elect will act as president “until a President shall have qualified”, and if the VP isn’t qualified either then who else will act as president is to be decided by law. The “act” part is odd, because it isn’t clear how “a President shall have qualified” in this situation.
        But no matter how you read any of that, the outgoing President and/or the runner-up appears nowhere in the equation.

        • Yeah.

          I mean, I consider Biden to be China’s finger-puppet, but I really don’t see how Trump stays in after 1/20 unless those NG troops have some Very Secret Orders.

          And I’m not sure that would be a good thing in the long run, either.

  2. At this point, I don’t think hitting companies like this in the wallet does anything at all. We’ve just watched… I don’t know how many companies go woke, go broke (losing tons of $, not literally going broke), and they carry on as though nothing’s wrong. It’s like a religious fervor, only secular, for social justice.
    Tl;dr- FB will take this in stride, like they’re doing the right thing instead of the stupid thing.

    • I was ready to buy TWTR at $25 when it was hovering around $27 last year.

      And then assign my proxy to somebody who would make Jack Dorsey’s leadership of that company a living hell.

      Not sure I’d do it now for $45.

      How about it, folks? They can’t unperson a shareholder, or a proxy for shareholders.

  3. Ummm…

    Losing market cap hurts, first and foremost, those who have invested in the company, including likely any of us who own broad market index funds (for instance, in an IRA or 401(k)). Some employees may feel it, e.g. founders and those with stock based compensation plans, but note that it’s still generally an asset that’s not being used for “operational” expenses. That comes, for most of us, from salary. Those employees with stock options may be bothered, but that’s capital, not income stream, so it threatens net worth but not usually life-in-the-moment activities like paying the water bill.

    Until the company’s revenue stream starts to fail, and the employees start worrying about whether they’ll have a job two months from now, the company isn’t really going to hurt no matter what the stock price does. (There are exceptions, generally associated with credit ratings and corporate debt load. Facebook, according to Yahoo! Finance, has around $10M in debt as of the end of 2019. Essentially zilch.)

    Advertisers pulling out, in other words, is what’s going to matter to them. Will customers (advertisers) pull back when Facebook et al decide to discontinue a third to a half of their product line (aka users)? We don’t know yet.

    • Yeah, but Twitter and FB are publicly traded. That means if this dip persists, the stockholders are going to want answers.

      It won’t outright kill the companies, but it might result in a reshuffling in corporate and upper management.

    • Amazon is starting to de-list books and products that support Q or Trump. While they don’t have a monopoly on internet marketplace or books, they are the 8000 lb gorilla in the field. I don’t have prime, but I DO make sure that nearly everything I buy is just barely above the minimum for free shipping, and I choose the “free shipping, gets to my place… eventually” option. The last order was about $35 worth of books, would have cost $8 in shipping to get it here in 3 days, but for free it takes… 5. oh, the horror. But that’s $8 that comes out of their bottom line.

      Of course I’ll sign this Anon, because I don’t want their big-data search algos to blacklist me totally for the things I do need to buy from them.

  4. I was forwarded a message sent by to soldiers stationed in Washington State regarding any upcoming protest action. Soldiers are told that they will be prosecuted if they attend a protest where “violence is likely to result”, regardless of whether or not they participate in the violence. They are also told in a different section of the same email that any protest near any state capitol building “will be the most likely focal point for…violent activities as we approach the Inauguration.”

    They are, in sum, being told that they will be prosecuted if they attend a Biden protest.

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