However justified the moves were, Twitter especially faces concrete business implications. For better or worse, banning Trump — whose constant controversial statements and posts stoked much of the fervent debate and discussion on the platform in recent years — will curb user growth and engagement. The numbers speak for themselves: The president’s account had roughly 90 million followers, compared with the 187 million monetizable average daily active users Twitter reported in its most recent quarter. Many of his supporters are already threatening to leave Twitter in protest. Good riddance? Perhaps. But investors have already grown skittish over the risks. The company’s stock price declined 4.5% since Wednesday’s riot, and then fell an additional 3.8% in after hours Friday following the Trump ban news.
Unlike the other technology giants that have taken a stand — all of which have strong balance sheets and generally thriving businesses — Twitter has been struggling to fix several core problems, from lack of innovation to inferior ad-platform technology and security lapses. On top of all that, CEO Jack Dorsey has come under criticism from activist investor Elliott Management. Despite a recent rebound in its stock price since last summer on rising optimism for an advertising recovery, Twitter now faces a bumpier future. And while the curbs on competitors such as Parler may on the margin keep some of Trump’s users from departing, it won’t be enough to overcome Twitter’s challenges.