Facebook Clashes with Trump, Stock Market Downplays It for Now


Jun. 19 2020, Published 7:31 a.m. ET

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) pulled down one of President Trump’s re-election campaign ads due to a Nazi symbol. The company rejected one of President Trump’s ads in the past. Previously, Facebook removed a Trump campaign ad that breached its rules for 2020 census-related ads.

In the latest incident, the Trump campaign page posted Facebook ads that featured an inverted red triangle shape. Facebook had an issue with the ads. The inverted red triangle looked similar to a symbol the Nazis used to mark political prisoners. As a result, Facebook decided that the ad violated its organized hate rules.

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Facebook and Twitter have issues with Trump’s posts

President Trump is one of Facebook’s top political advertisers. While Twitter gave selling political ads a wide berth and Google restricted the political advertising space on its website, Facebook has kept an open arm for political advertisers. However, Facebook’s political advertising business has sometimes put CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the defensive.

Facebook’s move to take down Trump campaign ads due to a questionable symbol comes after it decided not to act on controversial Trump posts in the past, which split the company. President Trump’s posts, that the social media giant left untouched, were slapped with warning labels on Twitter.

After the clash with Twitter about fact-checking posts, President Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies.

Market downplays the cash over campaign ads

Removing President Trump’s ads and the risk of a wider fallout with the Trump campaign hasn’t kept investors from buying Facebook shares. The stock jumped 0.17% on Thursday even after the company disclosed that it took down President Trump’s ads. Facebook shares have gained 54% over the past three months and 15% year-to-date.

Investors can overlook the risks of Facebook’s clash with President Trump. The economic reopening promises big wins for the company. Also, US states have started to lift coronavirus restrictions. People can go back to work and businesses can reopen. Economies are also reopening in other parts of the world. The economic reopening should revive advertising spending, which fell amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Facebook derives most of its revenue from advertising sales.

Also, investors can overlook Facebook’s clash with President Trump as they focus on the potential of the new WhatsApp Pay service. Facebook started offering the mobile payment service inside the WhatsApp platform in Brazil. WhatsApp Pay will make money by charging merchants a payment processing fee. Mobile or digital payment is a fast-growing business. So far, the COVID-19 outbreak has been fueling the adoption.


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