🛑 Big Tech blocks Trump

Monday, January 11, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Twitter employee with the kill switch: "It's done"

Last Week’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
31,098 (+1.61%)
S&P 500
3,825 (+1.83%)
Nasdaq
13,202 (+2.43%)
Bitcoin
$39,700 (+34.40%)

Hey Snackers,

The most surprising Millennial rebrand of the decade: the CIA's new website, which is looking like a direct-to-consumer spy company.

Stocks ended the 1st week of 2021 at record highs, despite a shocking attack on the US Capitol. Investors were hopeful about the prospect of a newly Democrat-controlled Congress, which boosts the likelihood of more stimulus.

#Blocked
1. Big Tech excommunicates President Trump — and Twitter bans him permanently

Still reeling... The nation was shaken Wednesday, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol building, temporarily halting the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. Five people died during the attack, including a US Capitol Police officer. Trump was widely criticized for stoking the insurrection, which struck at the cornerstone of American democracy. While the riot received bipartisan condemnation, Big Tech took unprecedented action...

  • Twitter went the furthest, permanently banning Trump and removing his tweet history. It cited the risk that he could incite further violence (against Twitter Rules).
  • Facebook locked Trump's FB and Insta accounts at least until January 20th (aka: Biden's inauguration) — and potentially indefinitely.
  • Google and Apple removed Parler, a right-wing-friendly “free speech” app, from their app stores. Then, Amazon said it would no longer host Parler on its AWS cloud.
  • Shopify permanently took down Trump's campaign merch store, while Paypal deactivated an account that raised money for Trump supporters, some of whom traveled to the Capitol.
  • Snap locked Trump's account, while Amazon's Twitch indefinitely banned Trump's streaming channel.

Wall Street's two cents ... Twitter stock fell 5% for the week, even though the moves are likely to win Big Tech goodwill with the newly Democrat-controlled government (Dems have criticized Twitter for not moderating enough). More goodwill = potentially less regulation and Congressional grillings. But Twitter investors seemed concerned that the Trump ban could reduce usage and ad sales.

THE TAKEAWAY

The immense power and responsibility of Big Tech has never been clearer... First: in allowing misinformation to spread, bad actors to organize, and nearly anyone to have a huge platform. Second: in taking away that voice and reach in a matter of seconds, from a figure as significant as the US president. These tech bans are a reminder that a company like Twitter, with just 5K employees, wields disproportionate influence over world events. They also set a precedent for how the public will expect them to intervene moving forward.

Highs

Diamonds on my (block)chain... Bitcoin topped $40K for the first time last week, more than doubling in a month. The epic rally was partly driven by institutional FOMO: companies like banks and hedge funds have been pouring into the crypto coin. Mainstream investors, who have more access to bitcoin than ever through fintech apps, also took part in the rally. While bitcoin tends to be volatile (read: crash-prone), some see it as a hedge against inflation: bitcoin's supply is capped at 21M coins, while the Fed’s money printers have been blasting out $$$ to stimulate the economy.

Clean juice cleanse... Electric vehicles had a moment last week with a flurry of milestones. Nio, the so-called "Tesla of China," said its 2020 deliveries more than doubled from a year ago to ~44K. Tesla (the "Tesla of Tesla") delivered a record-breaking ~500K cars last year. Meanwhile in Norway, electric cars outsold gas and hybrid models for the first time in 2020. In the UK, EV sales nearly tripled while total auto sales hit the lowest level since 1992.

Lows

I sink, therefore I am... While the S&P 500 was busy hitting record highs, Carnival dropped the anchor. Shares of the world's largest cruise company fell 5% for the week, after three of Carnival's cruise lines pushed back sail dates to follow government protocols. Still, the cruise operator seems upbeat about its advanced bookings for 2021, and the stock has rallied 50% since November. BTW: Carnival is dropping earnings today — analysts are expecting sales to be down a whopping 97% from last year.

Hitting reverse... The pace of jobs recovery has been slowing for months, but now the US is actually losing jobs again: the US economy shed 140K jobs in December, the first monthly net loss since April. Hospitality accounted for most of that as Covid cases surged. Bars and restaurants got hit hardest, losing nearly 400K positions as California banned outdoor dining. The unemployment rate remained flat from November at 6.7% (nearly double the pre-pandemic rate). But investors shrugged off the report, looking ahead to vaccines and more stimulus.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Do: How to stop letting your phone rewire your brain for distractions, and other habits to drop in 2021.
  • Move: Thinking of moving? Some US cities will pay you $10K to relocate.
  • Work: Why you need an "Untouchable Day" every week.
  • Check: Here's what you need to know if you received "Status Unavailable" when checking on your second stimulus payment.
  • Focus: An online pomodoro timer to boost your productivity (tomato-style).
  • Think: Why you should talk to yourself in the third person — and finally take your own advice.
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This Week

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Shopify, Apple, Amazon, Google, Tesla, and Snap

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