Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing Donald Trump’s inflammatory posts, Twitter, Facebook, and free speech.
Twitter Takes Action Against Trump's Posts
2) The most interesting issue in the business world right now is how the big social media companies are responding to the increasing scrutiny they're under for the content that's posted on their sites.
Since the financial crisis, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has had significant exposure to financial stocks in its portfolio. Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more At the end of March this year, Bank of America accounted for nearly 15% of the conglomerate's vast equity portfolio. Until very recently, Wells Fargo was also a prominent Read More
Until recently, all of them allowed pretty much anything, using the legal shield of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. But then Twitter (TWTR) broke ranks, taking action against a few of President Donald Trump's posts... earning his ire and that of his supporters. Many have called on Facebook (FB) to take similar steps, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has so far refused.
Here's a link to a thread Twitter just posted, defending its decision. Excerpt:
Zuckerberg And His Thinking
And here are two articles about Zuckerberg and his thinking:
- Zuckerberg Defends Hands-Off Approach to Trump's Posts, New York Times.
- Nine things we learned from leaked audio of Mark Zuckerberg facing his employees, The Verge. Excerpt:
On some level, the dispute between top executives and the walkout participants is intractable – you either think Trump's post should have come down, or shouldn't have. But if you assume there will be many more decisions like this to be made in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, as I do, it's valuable to understand how Facebook justifies and communicates its policy decisions.
My take: with both Republicans and Democrats calling for a repeal of the blanket exemption from Section 230, it appears clear that the social media giants are going to have to move in the direction Twitter has taken. I think this will end up being good for humanity – the toxic status quo is simply untenable – but we'll need to be vigilant to protect free speech.