Jan 16th 2021ON JANUARY 7TH , a day after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, leaving five people dead and America shaken, Do
ON JANUARY 7TH , a day after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, leaving five people dead and America shaken, Donald Trump had the sixth-most-popular account on Twitter, with nearly 90m followers. A day later he had none. The outgoing president was permanently booted off his social-media platform of choice for inciting violence.
Free-speech advocates—including Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and no Trump fan—bristled. So did investors. Twitter’s share price has fallen by around 10% since @RealDonaldTrump’s expulsion. That of Facebook, which suspended his account “indefinitely” on its main social network and Instagram, its sister photo-sharing app, has also dipped.
This looks like an over-reaction, at least by the stockmarket. Social-media firms’ ad-sales departments may be glad to be rid of the troll-in-chief. Before being displaced by “coronavirus” last year, “Trump” was the most blocked keyword by online advertisers, loth to have their logos appear alongside content that might repel customers.
Twitter’s algorithms prioritise tweets that generate greatest engagement. Mr Trump’s were highly engaging, to put it mildly, and often ended up at the top of users’ feeds. This coveted online real estate is sold through automated auctions. If many potential bidders block “Trump”, this may depress prices. With Mr Trump…