Twitter shares pared a loss of as much as 5.3%, the most since May 13, in Thursday trading. Facebook shares climbed as much as 0.7%. Earlier, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg told CNBC that social networks shouldn’t fact-check politicians.
Trump’s moves are likely “more bark than bite,” Height Capital Markets analysts Chase White and Clayton Allen wrote in a note, citing news reports suggesting the order will address Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the liability shield that protects Internet platforms from whatever content is posted on their sites. They see the Federal Communications Commission as having limited control over social media companies, which aren’t directly regulated like utilities or broadcasters.
“There will be zero financial impact from [Trump’s] temper tantrum,” Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said via email. “While it is definitely the FCC’s responsibility to execute the laws subject to its interpretation of them, it is hard to see how the FCC is responsible for following the president’s interpretation from an executive order.”
The timing of the executive order is unclear; earlier the White House said it was still in the works. On Thursday morning, Trump used Twitter to say “This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” and to discuss technology companies and the November election.