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Stock Prices Decline Following Social Media Crackdowns

Stock prices for Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOGL), and Apple (AAPL) all fell as the companies grappled with how to deal with the tragic events of last week.

Ryan Hedrick

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Social media stocks took a hit Monday as companies scramble to silence some high-profile accounts that they believe are inciting violence following attacks on the U.S. Capitol.

Stock prices for Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOGL), and Apple (AAPL) all fell as the companies grappled with how to deal with the tragic events of last week.

“While the week will certainly be remembered for far more shocking events, it’s not lost on us that we may be at the precipice of a change to long-standing Internet rules of engagement,” Bernstein internet analyst Mark Shmulik said.  

Twitter permanently banned President Trump’s account on Friday, leading to the exodus of some of the biggest names in political commentary.

“Private companies with clear terms and conditions can remove and suspend violators as they deem appropriate,” Shmulik said.

Shmulik warned that changing the liability laws doesn’t solve the issue of what content is and isn’t permitted. “It’s telling that Facebook has been vocal about seeking regulatory guidance here, going so far as to set up their own Oversight Board in absence of formal regulation.”

Amazon Web Services (AWS) suspended its relationship as web host for the right-wing chat service Parler, knocking it off the internet.

“On the social-media front, detractors will point to Free Speech and moderation subjectivity—it’s not hard to find other social-media accounts breaching these same terms and conditions—yet no other account has the authority (as President of the United States), nor the reach (6th most followed account on Twitter) of Donald Trump.”

News Print & Digital

Bill O’Reilly: ‘Unholy Alliance’ Between Liberal Media and Government Officials

A recent effort by citizens to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is O’Reilly’s point of contention.

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On Monday’s episode of The O’Reilly Update podcast, during the “message of the day” Bill O’Reilly focused on the ties between liberal media outlets and government officials.

“There are unholy alliances in play,” O’Reilly said. “That is press agencies advancing the fortunes of leftists seeking power, while at the same time ignoring injustice. Let’s focus on a very vivid example: the Los Angeles Times. Like its namesake in New York, the LA Times is a liberal outfit. Nothing wrong with that, if an attempt is made to provide straightforward news coverage. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. While crime is devastating LA and other California cities, the newspaper is desperately trying to save progressive law enforcement agents who are directly responsible for the death and destruction.”

A recent effort by citizens to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is O’Reilly’s point of contention. He claims homicides are up 94% since Gascon took office in December of 2020. Shootings are up 54%, and O’Reilly pins those numbers on Gascon’s policy of criminal justice reform. O’Reilly used recent editorials from the California newspaper saying “the notion that a D.A. can make crime rise or fall over a period is absurd” as an example of this “unholy alliance”.

“What is absurd is that newspaper not processing the violent crime it reports on every day. That’s absurd,” O’Reilly argued. “The truth is the progressive movement believes the American criminal justice system is racist and wants to destroy it. The LA Times is part of the progressive movement. It has allied itself with that. And so, death in the streets of blighted neighborhoods really doesn’t matter for the greater good of criminal justice reform.”

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Axios, Cox Enterprises Reach Agreement on $525M Sale

The new deal will also include an additional investment of $25 million in Axios’ media branch

Eduardo Razo

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Axios has new owners as the company announced Monday that it agreed to sell to its most recent primary investor, Cox Enterprises. Furthermore, the agreement between the two companies is for $525 million. 

The deal is structured to secure investments that will continue to pour into local news after the company began providing coverage in 2020 after initially focusing on politics, tech, and business when it was founded in 2016. 

“A big part of this investment is to expand the number of local markets we serve. Local watchdog journalism is so important to the health of any community, and no one is more focused on building that out nationally than Axios,” Cox chairman and CEO Alex Taylor said.

The new deal will also include an additional investment of $25 million in Axios’ media branch to assist the company in growing across its local, national, and subscription news products.

“This is great for Axios, for our shareholders and American journalism. It allows us to think and operate generationally, with a like-minded partner — and build something great and durable that lives long after we are gone,” Axios CEO Jim VandeHei said.

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Elon Musk Offers Twitter CEO Debate On Bots

“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!"

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Billionaire Elon Musk challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a public debate on the subject of fake accounts and spam over the weekend.

Musk and Twitter are currently in legal proceedings over a $44 billion takeover offer from the Tesla and SpaceX executive. Musk filed a bid with Securities and Exchange Commission to purchase Twitter in April. After both parties agreed to the deal, Musk made the decision to terminate the deal, accusing Twitter of providing him with incorrect numbers in regards to the amount of daily users that are not spam or bot accounts. In retaliation, Twitter sued Musk to ensure the deal would go through.

A Twitter thread by Andrea Stroppa detailed the allegations made by Musk. Musk replied by saying “Good summary of the problem. If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Musk later asked followers whether they believed less than 5% of Twitter’s daily users were bots or spam. He later tweeted “I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!”

According to a report from CNBC, a source close to Twitter said a debate “is not going to happen outside of a pending trial”.

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