After many protesters at a pro-Trump rally turned violent and broke into the U.S. Capitol Building, Big Tech companies clamped down on various conservatives. Facebook and Twitter crossed the Rubicon by finally banning President Donald Trump, sparking a mass exodus of conservatives from their platforms. As it turns out, this move likely also cost them financially, to the tune of billions of dollars.
This week, Facebook and Twitter collectively lost $51.2 billion in market value, Business Insider reported. Facebook’s stock market value dropped $47.6 billion while Twitter’s value dropped by $3.5 billion. Both Facebook and Twitter lost value on Monday and Tuesday, while Twitter regained some of its value on Wednesday with Facebook wavering at its previous closing level.
The Big Tech onslaught began after pro-Trump protesters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in an attempt to prevent Vice President Mike Pence and Congress from counting the Electoral College votes to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Many have accused President Donald Trump of inciting violence in the situation, even though Trump told protesters to go home. While the president did engage in dangerous rhetoric by insisting he won the election by a “landslide” and by urging Pence to unilaterally reject some electoral votes, he did not explicitly call for violence or an attack on the Capitol.
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Even so, after the riots, Twitter suspended Trump’s account for the first time and Facebook permanently banned the president. After Trump deleted the tweets Twitter had flagged and had his account restored, Twitter proceeded to ban him entirely on Friday, and then it banned the official President of the United States (POTUS) account.
Facebook throttled conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh, notifying him that his “Page has reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news.” Limbaugh left Twitter in protest after the platform banned Trump. Facebook also locked former Congressman Ron Paul out of his Facebook page without identifying any post where Paul allegedly violated Facebook’s community standards.
As conservatives flocked from Facebook and Twitter to Parler, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, claiming the site had failed to take down posts inciting violence. On Saturday, Amazon announced it would follow suit after employees pressured the company to remove Parler. Parler went offline on Monday and announced it could not secure hosting from companies other than Amazon. Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday, claiming that Twitter had also failed to take down posts inciting violence — and indeed had far more of them on its platform.
An Idaho internet provider moved to block access to Facebook and Twitter after the Trump ban.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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