Twitter’s shares went into reverse this morning following the social media site’s decision to ban US President Donald Trump.
The platform permanently suspended the president’s account over the weekend, stating that there was a risk of further incitement of violence following riots at the Capitol last week.
“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,” the company said in a statement on Friday.
Twitter’s shares were almost seven per cent lower in pre-market trading this afternoon, as the move sparked jitters among investors.
The company’s German-listed shares were also down as much as eight per cent after Chancellor Angela Merkel branded the ban “problematic”.
“The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance, and this fundamental right can be interfered with, but through the law and within the framework defined by the legislature, not according to the decision of the management of social media platforms,” she said in a statement given by spokesperson Steffen Seibert.
“From this point of view, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked.”
Twitter’s decision to block Trump came after Mark Zuckerberg said the president’s Facebook and Instagram accounts would be suspended until the end of his term in office.
The parallel moves will fuel concerns among investors that Trump’s departure could reduce engagement on the largest social media sites and benefit smaller rivals.
The bans sparked speculation that Trump would move to Parler, a self-styled free speech social media app popular with the far right and used by his sons Don Jr and Eric.
But Parler today went offline after Amazon Web Services, which hosts the app, pulled its support. Apple and Google had already removed Parler from their app stores.
Parler is now facing an uncertain future, and will only be able to return if it can find an alternative vendor willing to host it.