Twitter Inc. (TWTR) - Get Report shares fell sharply Thursday after President Donald Trump threatened legal action against the micro-blogging website after it locked accounts linked his re-election campaign.
Trump told Fox Business Thursday that blocking access to accounts such as @TeamTrump, as well as his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, would lead to a 'big lawsuit' as he complained of the company's decision to limit the sharing of a New York Post article critical of his rival Joe Biden. The New York Post account was also locked.
Twitter said the accounts were locked for sharing links to the New York Post article, which included personal details and email address that violate Twitter's policies on privacy. Twitter also said it was concerned that the information may have been obtained through hacking, the sharing of which also violates policies it established in 2018.
Trump said the decision was politically motivated, given the the article alleges Biden's on, Hunter, arranged meeting between the then Vice President and an alleged executive in the Ukrainian energy industry. Hunter Biden served on the board of Ukraine-based Burisma, a natural gas production company, from 2014 to 2019.
"It's going to all end up in a big lawsuit and there are things that can happen that are very severe that I'd rather not see happen," Trump said. "But it's probably going to have to."
Twitter shares were marked 2.3% lower in late-morning trading Thursday and changing hands at $44.91 each following Trump's comments and news of the account suspensions.
The dispute is likely to intensify calls from Republican lawmakers to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from being liable for the content that appears on their platforms.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri said via his verified Twitter account late Wednesday that "next week when the full Senate returns we should VOTE on my bill allowing Americans to sue #BigTech for censorship & unfair treatment."