Trump Will Remain Off Facebook, for Now
Here’s what it means for the stock.
Here’s what it means for the stock.
A body funded by Facebook to arbitrate decisions about content issued its first major ruling early Wednesday, saying the social network’s ban on former President Donald Trump‘s account was fair, but describing his indefinite suspension as inappropriate.
Facebook (ticker: FB) shares were choppy when the market opened, ticking up 0.2% to $318.63 as investors processed the latest batch of quarterly earnings and a private-sector employment report.
The decision about Trump’s account, which punts the matter back to Facebook, is unlikely to have a significant impact on the stock. As Barron’s wrote in our April 2 cover story, the company has faced controversy after controversy, with little impact on its profit and revenue growth over the years. Wednesday’s decision is no different.
Fifty-eight sell-side analysts cover Facebook and none made a change to their target price or recommendation on shares immediately after the decision.
Facebook’s Oversight Board said that the former president’s posts on the platform after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as Congress was certified the 2020 election, violated the company’s rules
“However, it wasn’t appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” the board wrote. “Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.”
The Oversight Board told Facebook to “determine and justify a proportionate response” that follows the rules the company applies to other users.
Facebook created the oversight board and provided funding for it to handle final decisions about a select batch of content. The company has vowed to abide by the body’s recommendations in specific content cases brought before it. Facebook has 30 days to publish a response to the decision and recommendations.
“We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended,” said a blog post by Nick Clegg, Facebook vice president for global affairs and communications.
Twitter permanently banned Trump from its platform after the incident at the Capitol. At the time, at least one analyst was concerned that kicking the former president off the site could damage the company’s user count and revenue.
But fears of financial problems as a result look to be unfounded. Twitter’s latest quarterly results were better than analysts expected. Twitter hasn’t signalled it plans to re-evaluate the decision.
Facebook stock has advanced 6.8% since Barron’s cover story, as the S&P 500 index rose 3.9%.
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