Twitter Inc. (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report shares lead social media and tech companies lower Monday after the micro-blogging website moved to permanently suspend the personal and political accounts of President Donald Trump.
Twitter announced its decision late Friday, citing concerns the President's accounts could be used to incite more violence following his alleged rousing of a mob that stormed the Capitol last week and lead to the deaths of at least five people, including a police officer.
"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said in a statement.
Other social media companies followed suit, with Facebook (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report shutting down the President's account on both the main platform and Instagram for the remainder of his term. Snap Inc. (SNAP) - Get Snap Inc. Class A Report, which operates the Snapchat app, made a similar decision last Wednesday, while Canada-based Shopify (SHOP) - Get Shopify Inc. Class A Subordinate Report shutdown two sites affiliated with the Trump campaign,
Twitter shares were marked 10.2% lower in early trading Monday to change hands at $46.25 each. Snap shares slipped 1% to $52.20 each while Facebook was marked 3.3% lower at $258.70 each.
A nascent attempt by Trump to move at least some of his 88 million Twitter followers to the rival micro-blogging website Parler was also complicated by Google's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report decision to remove it from its app store, following what the tech giant call "numerous complaints regarding objectionable content" in an email to Parler CEO John Matze. Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report initiated a similar ban on Sunday.
"This could destroy anybody," Matze told Fold News Sunday. "It's an impossible feat that we're going to handle as best we can to get back online as quickly as possible."
The collective action by social media and tech giants could, do some degree, assuage concerns for a new wave of regulations over the sector that some suggest could be initiated by Democratic lawmakers, who now control all three branches of government, over the coming months.
Chief among those concerns is the fate of Section 230, a clause in the Communications Decency Act that protects online media companies from liability for the content published by its customers.
Republican lawmakers, who have long accused social media companies of liberal bias, has pushed for the repeal of Section 230, while Democrats have preferred a re-working of its language that would protect free speech while limiting Big Tech's influence.