How to potentially profit from President Trump’s battle with Twitter and Facebook

Writing for Yahoo Finance, Brian Sozzi explains that the escalation in the battle between President Trump and social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook could dent the investment theses on each stock near-term, pros say, so it’s likely investors will rotate into less riskier big cap tech stocks.

In response to a Tweet from the President on Tuesday morning, the social media giant posted a “What you need to know” disclaimer. It declared: “Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election.’ However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.”

Twitter added links late Tuesday to two of Trump’s tweets in which he had posted about mail-in ballots. The links — which were in blue lettering at the bottom of the posts and punctuated by an exclamation mark — urged people to “get the facts” about voting by mail. (These links are not shown on embedded tweets such as the ones you see on this page.) Clicking on the links lead to a CNN article that claims Mr. Trump’s statements were unsubstantiated and to a list of bullet points compiled by Twitter.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order aimed at social media companies Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday evening.

UPDATE: 6:05pm EDT: President Trump’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” has been issued and can be read in full here.

Brian Sozzi for Yahoo Finance:

How to potentially profit from President Trump's battle with Twitter and Facebook. Image: Chirp for Twitter is a the wrist-based Twitter app for Apple Watch
Chirp for Twitter is a the wrist-based Twitter app for Apple Watch
“I think the trade [on the social media stocks] is to stand back a bit and see how this shakes out. It seems like some sort of regulation on the social media and search names has been coming for a long time. To me there are better places in the market you can go, especially in tech. You can go to a Microsoft. You can go to an Apple. You could go into some of these stay-at-home stocks so you don’t take on that risk around social media regulation,” said Sevens Report Research founder Tom Essaye on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Shares of Twitter fell 2% and Facebook dipped slightly on Thursday as Trump ratcheted up pressure on the social media giants. Following Twitter’s decision this week to label certain Trump tweets with blue fact checking links, the president said he will sign an executive order Thursday that targets a 1996 statute that protects the companies from lawsuits pertaining content policing.

Although the executive order is likely to be held up in the courts, the mere threat of future costly lawsuits could cause concerns among investors in Twitter and Facebook. To that end, shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon all traded higher Thursday — an indication of the rotation perhaps already beginning.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a good thing that Apple has sucked at social media* all these years; it’s a can of worms!

*Ping, Apple Music Connect

UPDATE: 6:05pm EDT: President Trump’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” has been issued and can be read in full here.


  1. Twitter is a liberal, biased platform whose “fact check” on voting by mail is actually 100% wrong.

    Mail-in ballots aren’t secure. They surely are less secure than in-person voting, and that makes fraud more likely.

    From shadow banning and locking conservative accounts, to now posting warning labels that are provably wrong, Twitter is not letting the battle of ideas proceed without tipping the scale towards liberals.

    States should not discourage legal voter registration or get-out-the-vote activities, but they need to do more to prevent voter registration and absentee ballot fraud…

    One potential source of election fraud arises from inactive or ineligible voters left on voter registration lists. By one estimate, for example, there were over 181,000 dead people listed on the voter rolls in six swing states in the November 2004 elections, including almost 65,000 dead people listed on the voter rolls in Florida…

    Invalid voter files, which contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, or deceased voters, are an invitation to fraud…

    In close or disputed elections, and there are many, a small amount of fraud could make the margin of difference. And second, the perception of possible fraud contributes to low confidence in the system. A good ID system could deter, detect, or eliminate several potential avenues of fraud— such as multiple voting or voting by individuals using the identities of others or those who are deceased — and thus it can enhance confidence…

    While vote by mail appears to increase turnout for local elections, there is no evidence that it significantly expands participation in federal elections.40 Moreover, it raises concerns about privacy, as citizens voting at home may come under pressure to vote for certain candidates, and it increases the risk of fraud…

    The case of King County, Washington, is instructive. In the 2004 gubernatorial elections, when two in three ballots there were cast by mail, authorities lacked an effective system to track the number of ballots sent or returned. As a result, King County election officials were unable to account for all absentee ballots. Moreover, a number of provisional ballots were accepted without signature verification. he failures to account for all absentee ballots and to verify signatures on provisional ballots became issues in the protracted litigation that followed Washington state’s 2004 gubernatorial election.

    Vote by mail is popular but not a panacea for declining participation. While there is little evidence of fraud in Oregon, where the entire state votes by mail, absentee balloting in other states has been one of the major sources of fraud. Even in Oregon, better precautions are needed to ensure that the return of ballots is not intercepted…

    When 1,700 voters who were registered in both New York and Florida requested absentee ballots to be mailed to their home in the other state, no one ever bothered to investigate…

    Elections are the heart of democracy. They are the instrument for the people to choose leaders and hold them accountable. At the same time, elections are a core public function upon which all other government responsibilities depend. If elections are defective, the entire democratic system is at risk.

    Jimmy Carter, James A. Baker, III, Co-Chairs of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, Report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, September 2005

    1. Any evidence to support your speculations? There’s a LOT of talk among the president’s loyal followers about rigged elections and voter fraud, but there’s never any evidence to support the claims. Most of what you’re saying boils down to, “nobody really knows.” But in fact we do know. The commission created by the president himself to investigate voter fraud found no evidence to support his wild claims. (You can’t claim the results are part of a deep state conspiracy if Mr. Trump hand-picked the people.) You do make some good points about what might happen or what could happen, but historically, it HASN’T happened, so there’s no rational reason to expect it will happen in the future.

    2. Thanks, I gained a fresh new RESPECT for President Carter and his bipartisan team — the LAST honest Democrat president and totally explains why his party threw him under the bus.

      The fact is the president is correct that voter fraud WILL INCREASE this year. I’m certainly not going to go deep into the weeds with liberal pinheads over tedious details — the overall point is absolutely correct.

      Regarding potential voter fraud, I have two examples witnessed first hand:

      1- When I voted in recent years showed my ID and saw several family members on the list and was asked if they were related. The problem was my mother passed years before and still on the list. Obviously she was not a voter, but it is a serious question that demands scrutiny. Facts reveal dead voting in the county and state I live in yearly and nothing being done about it.

      2- On the last day of voter registration in our county office months before the first Obama election, a professional friend of mine (Gay Democrat), ran the place and we headed to Happy Hour afterwards. This overweight slob comes in 15 minutes before closing wearing Obama shirts and covered in buttons working in the city Democrat office. Holding voter registration forms over two inches thick he asked for a pen to fill in details and names missed.

      Credit to my friend, the pen was denied, put the forms down and leave. Ballot harvesting or is it tampering with an election?

      This year’s presidential election because of the virus and media malfeasance the most voter fraud, will undoubtedly, occur…😡👎🏻

      1. GeoB,

        Unless your deceased relative is a zombie or vampire, she might have had some difficulty presenting an ID to vote. As for story two, the system worked to prevent any impropriety. What more do you want? Are you suggesting that people should be required to register only in person at a government office with an approved picture ID? Where does that leave citizens who are vulnerable to the coronavirus or who cannot travel to the government office?
        Here in Texas, voters can vote early in person without stating any reason. In most counties, they can vote at any polling location, not just the one closest to home. Voting by mail is available for anyone who claims to be 65 years or older; to be disabled; to be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or to be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible. Given all those existing exceptions to local in-person voting on Election Day, how would broadening the franchise present any additional risks?

        All of which is rather beside the point, which is whether a federal official should be telling a non-government party that it is not entitled to express an opinion about how the states conduct elections.

      2. “This year’s presidential election because of the virus and media malfeasance the most voter fraud, will undoubtedly, occur…”

        Yeah and that’s what Trump wants the gullible to think and you are falling for the obvious manipulation by this clumsy, corrupt & obvious oaf? This is a setup so when the election legitimately doesn’t go his way he will attempt to go against the will of the people to remain in power. Kinda what dictators and despots do.

        No way you can try to explain this away except through specious nonsense. You are being played.

        Things have changed since President Carter’s Commision write that report on voter fraud.

        “Recently, Carter has come out as a vocal proponent for states expanding their vote by mail apparatuses as the coronavirus pandemic makes traditional, in-person voting a serious health risk.

        “I urge political leaders across the country to take immediate steps to expand vote-by-mail and other measures that can help protect the core of American democracy – the right of our citizens to vote,” the former President said in a statement this month (in May 2020).”

    3. The Carter-Baker report was issued in 2005, seven congressional and seven off-year election cycles ago. Even then, Oregon reported success with their mail vote program. Oregon and several other states—even Republican states like Utah—now have years of experience. The Republican Secretary of State in Washington reports that there has been no more reported or proven fraud than with in-person elections, although turnout has improved considerably, particularly in non-presidential elections.

      Twitter is understandably concerned with tweets that might suppress voting. Making baseless claims about voting procedures falls under that umbrella. If the President wants to avoid the warning label, all he has to do is provide Twitter with evidence that his claim is correct.

      It should go without saying that one of the foundations of our federal system is that the states conduct their elections with a minimum of federal interference. Congress has a role in implementing constitutional requirements, but the executive branch has no role beyond enforcing federal law. It certainly has no business trying to run state elections.

      Similarly, the content of non-governmental communications is subject to the constitutional principle that the government shall make no law infringing the freedom of such communications. Telling a publisher or platform what they must publish or cannot publish falls directly under that prohibition.

  2. Social media probably should just go away. All it has become is a detrimental platform for lying and misinformation from the lowest to the highest office in the land for those so mentally unhinged, agenda driven and transparently manipulating.

    1. The problem is that social media does not fall into a neat category derived from prior examples.

      It is not like a traditional newspaper or broadcast where human editors make content decisions. The volume is simply far too great to allow that. If every post or comment required independent fact-checking and approval subject to the libel laws, far more thant 99% of internet content would disappear.

      However, It is not a common carrier, legally required to carry every message presented to it. The idea that it resembled traditional common carriers like the postal service and telephone network led Congress to grant e-media liability protection for content submitted and published outside the company’s control. The analogy fails because everybody would be outraged if the companies propagated child or revenge pornography, snuff films, deadly medical misinformation, or explicit incitements to violence. They are therefore required to use some degree of editorial judgment; the question is not whether they should exclude material, but how much.

      An even bigger issue is how they order the material. My first serious girlfriend was an archivist working on her Master’s degree in what is now called Information Science. She convinced me that cataloguers run the world. Once a library acquires more than a few hundred volumes, it becomes increasingly difficult to locate any given fact among those millions of words without proper cataloguing of the collection and indexing of the volumes. At some point, it becomes impossible in any practical sense.

      The social media cannot avoid that problem. If they did not organize and index their material in some way, it would quickly become utterly inaccessible. Unlike computers, humans cannot process unordered sets of information, only ordered lists. The item at the top left of the list is unavoidably going to be the most prominent. The search algorithms must not only find the relevant materials but also order them in such a way that users can find what they need without having to sort through thousands of irrelevant items. An order that satisfies one user will inevitably infuriate another.

      Pleasing everyone is literally a game they cannot win.

    2. My problem with it is like the rest of the media it is totally biased and does not give Republicans an equal platform or fair shake, as many fine posts here have adequately posted documented evidence…

  3. Twitter did not censor Trump’s lies, they simply provided links that showed why they were lies. A clear solution would be for him to do the impossible, tell the truth.

    1. Even better, just flag Tweets with questionable content, let readers know the statements’ veracity may be questioned by some, and encourage people to decide the truth for themselves. Of course, that rule would end up flagging the vast majority of the president’s Tweets.

      1. So, Sherm, what is your solution—ban all voting? The incidence of fraudulent ballots in the US is much less than the number of deaths from COVID-19, which you find perfectly acceptable.

        1. So, User, “what is your solution?”

          Besides TWO pathetic deflection attempts to change the PREMISE of sherm66 post.

          It is totally dishonest and no matter how many times you post the same partisan debate tactic, unlike your ilk, we are SMARTER than that.

          Bottom Line: You are in obvious DENIAL by your tedious posts, have no solutions and could not care less about the problem because it benefits the Democrat Party.

          Nuff said…

          1. The solution is to allow the people of the United States the freedom to decide their own leaders through an expansive franchise and free elections. One means towards that solution is for Americans to oppose efforts to suppress voting. Voter fraud is a legitimate concern, but proven examples of it are exceedingly rare (and cut both ways). Historically, it is Democrats who benefit if alternative forms of voting are curtailed.

            Elections in Washington State are held by mail, supervised by a Republican Secretary of State, and show higher turnout and less evidence of fraud than the in-person elections in many other states. Claiming otherwise is a lie, and Twitter has no duty to propagate lies.

            Do we really want another election in a country with 200 million registered voters (and 130 million other residents) in which the winner only gets 63 million votes?

            1. “Voter fraud is a legitimate concern, but proven examples of it are exceedingly rare”

              Typical USER trying to have it both ways. Halfheartedly admitting the problem and then immediately dismissing the problem and going further downplaying a serious issue as “rare.” NO, not rare a serious concern gone on far too long that could falsely change an election.

              Voter fraud should never happen and as I posted earlier, it happens in every election and every state at some point in time. From what I have read here and elsewhere fraud is more prevalent in blue states and big cities like in California and New York.

              “Historically, it is Democrats who benefit if alternative forms of voting are curtailed.”

              Is this the same history of Democrats in areas with large illegal populations not concerned about fraudulent voting.

              Is this the same history of Democrats screaming about voter ID suppressing their voters ONLY that every honest person knows is a crock of 💩.

              Is this the same history of Democrats lawyered up in a blue county to examine hanging chads to change a few hundred votes and win the presidential election.

              Is this the same history of Democrats not screaming about voter fraud even if it hurts their party the MOST as you allege — speaks volumes.

              The old saw: Nobility speaking is the last refuge of LIARS. Nobody does it better than you…

    1. There is no such thing as so-called “ballot harvesting” just as there os no such thing as a so-called “assault rifle.” Both elliptical hyperboles are meant to unnecessarily increase tensions, to put people’s hair on fire about non-existent problems. Who benefits? The donor class, the Police State, legislators, and media, not I.

  4. Zuckerberg is on his way to being richest man in the world, and there is nothing TRUMPET can do to stop it, but Apple can if it would stop wasting time with Hollywood.

  5. By the way, since voting by mail is ripe for fraud, Democrats should oppose it, too, unless they’re not worried about Republicans exploiting the flaws in voting by mail for their own gains, too. Yes, I know that the Democrats have years of practice having dead people vote Democrat multiple times, but Republicans are NOT going to let Democrats steal elections with impunity if, for some insane reason, mail-in voting becomes more prevalent. The goal of every election will be to out-fraud the other party.

    Is that how you want your elections to happen? Nobody will ever trust an election result again. Hello, Civil War II! (And, Democrats should never forget, one side is far better armed.)

    1. Lefties are A-OK with fraud as long as it benefits their side. Look no further than the 100+ downvotes across the few non-lemming comments on this post. Are we to believe that the mostly moderate-right commenters/voters on MDN have suddenly become hard-left commies? Of course not, one or two greasy slobs peeled themselves off their mattresses to run their scripts. It’s all about perception manipulation and mind control, President Trump is right to go after the PSYOP brainwashers at Twatter and Fakebook.

  6. Kaileigh deplores absentee ballots because some were sent to Latino US Marines in Afhg. but who subsequently died fighting for their country and to keep her safe to complain like a wild-eyed privileged White person, like the woman with the dog she was abusing while demanding that police rescue her from a Black man standing still, about a non issue.

  7. Maybe MDN will stop censoring Daniel Eran Dilger when he tips buckets over MDN. Maybe MDN will stop censoring the fake AppleCynic and CitizenX characters who pour buckets over the sad, sorry sacks of scum bucketed nonsense that applecynic and CitizenX spout on a regular basis. But I doubt it, the censoring stick is strong at MDN.

    1. That’s the real irony here. In most jurisdictions, the people who vote most heavily in person on Election Day are Democrats. The absentee and early ballots lean Republican.

      1. You are confusing/equating Absentee Voting with Voting-by-Mail. Are you just ignorant or are you doing so with intent to deceive the less astute among us?

        Here’s the difference between absentee voting and a mass mail-in voting system:

        The President is okay with mail-in voting so long as you have a reason. He’s not okay with mass mail-in voting where you auto-send to all of these voter rolls, to people who are dead who are subject to fraud.

        The media is very concerned about the integrity of our elections but when it comes to mail-in ballots, all of a sudden, the concern for election security melts away.

        I want to note there was a Pew study done that shows there is plenty of reason to believe that in a mass mail-in system that there is fraud. They estimated that approximately 24-million, one out of every eight voters registered in the U.S., are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate. These are people who are on voter registrations that have not been maintained, have not been kept up. More than 1.8 million have been deceased. — White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, May 28, 2020

    2. “Republicans are the biggest users of mail in ballots.”

      Kayleigh the blonde BOMBSHELL “has voted 11 times by mail in ballot.”

      That is your empirical evidence (opinion) legal voting by one person applies to ALL Republicans and gives them an upper hand advantage over Democrats in elections.

      Then why are Republicans against and Democrats not sounding the advantage alarm?

      Yes, you know all about “stupid”…

  8. “The order seeks to scale back sweeping legal protections that Washington established for online platforms in the 1990s, in the internet’s early days. Those protections were created by Congress in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

    Critics across the political spectrum have argued that the law now provides the tech giants too much power, while the platforms argue that it is essential to the internet’s functioning. However, there is little bipartisan agreement on changes to Section 230, limiting prospects for any quick moves in Congress.
    In essence, the White House order asserts that tech companies should lose their Section 230 protection if they take action to discriminate against users or limit their access to a platform without providing a fair hearing, or in ways that aren’t spelled out in the platform’s terms of service.”

    If you can give it during a Democrat administration, you can take it away during a Republican administration.

    The 1990s when the law was passed and now in 2020 are night and day. Now social media became a behemoth of a handful of companies controlling most of the information.

    In addition, the left wing bias today, compared to the 90s, is off the charts and rampant against Republicans and not a peep about dishonest Democrats. The hypocrisy double standard is in play almost daily while social media is only concerned about fact checking the president, not on Biden and others.

    Good first step President Trump, long overdue, the law needs a rewrite to bring it inline with next century reality…

    1. If you believe that a law passed by the Congress, which is exclusively imbued with the legislative power of the United States of America by Article I of our Constitution, “needs a rewrite to bring it inline with next century reality,” you are free to urge your Senator and Representative to change that law. Anybody who thinks that the Article II authority of the President extends to that is, in the words of Mr. Trump’s first Secretary of State, “an f’ing moron.”

      How could anyone who claims allegiance to “the party of limited government” consider giving Big Brother Uncle Sam the unlimited power to shut down a business—by pulling immunity granted in the express words of a statute— because the Gummit decides, in its sole discretion, that the business has used its free speech rights in a way that might harm the political interests of the Chief Executive?

      That is almost the definition of totalitarianism.

      As Tiffany Li of the Boston University School of Law put it, the Executive Order “claims tech platforms are doing something they’re not, in violation of an incorrect interpretation of law, and tasks agencies it can’t task to look into the things that aren’t being done that wouldn’t be wrong.”

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