MRC’s Bozell: Stock Hits ‘Going to Get Worse’ for Twitter and Facebook

In recent days, the stock prices for major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have taken truly massive hits, which were partly driven by the issue of censoring conservative political speech. Last week, Facebook took a colossal $120 billion stock hit (which was the largest ever in history). And during an appearance on the Fox Business Network’s After the Bell, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell predicted that such hits were “going to get worse.”

“It’s been a rough week in general, last week or so for these technology companies, Twitter Facebook, Snapchat, their stock prices, this issue, the censorship issue, Silicon Valley-wide issue, Twitter-specific, how do you view it,” wondered Fox Business host Connell McShane.

Bozell’s response noted that those large stock market hits to social media companies were due to people losing confidence in the platforms that showed examples of political censorship against conservatives:

Well, I think it definitely is. It’s got to be an issue in there. It's a loss of confidence. When the public has loss of confidence. The public is not going to want to use these venues unless they have to. Facebook is being hurt tremendously by this issue of censorship. Now it is Twitter. And I would submit to you, that Twitter is worse than Facebook. So, I think it’s going to get worse. I hope I'm wrong, by the way. I hope I’m wrong, but I don't think I am.

 

 

In addition to talking about what the market’s movements symbolized, Bozell spoke about the possible avenues Congress could take to hold the social media companies accountable. “One of the things you can do is what Congressman Nunes is suggesting we should do, which is to hold hearings to see if they're in violation of Federal Election Commission rules,” he explained. “When you see now Twitter has been caught not once, but twice, with the shadow banning act.

There comes a point when you say, come on, this is censorship and you got to make a national issue about it and you have to ask the question, are they violating campaign laws,” he argued. “That they are, definitively trying to affect the Republican Party in a negative way, then you can look at whether they have crossed the bounds in the world of politics.

Aside from any possible legal action by Congress against these businesses, Bozell also touted the benefits of simple transparency:

I think also, the fact that of the spotlight on Twitter is also a very healthy thing. Look, some of these companies have been out of control. And it is absolutely correct: there has to be transparency. They have to be honest what it is they're doing. And if you watch, if you listen to their explanation about the latest go-round, they just go around in circles, and circles, and circles saying a whole lot that signifies nothing.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

 

 

Fox Business Network's After the Bell
July 30, 2018
4:52:41 PM Eastern

CONNELL MCSHANE: So the RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel calling for transparency from Twitter while Congressman Devin Nunes who you saw there suggesting legal action as a potential remedy amid allegations of “shadow banning” as it’s known, by Twitter. Brent Bozell founder and president of the Media Research Council [sic] is now leading a group of 40 conservative organizations. He joins us to talk about the action that his group of organizations might be taking. Brent, good to see you. Thank you for coming on. Just for people who haven’t been—I think a lot of people have been following this story. But essentially what was happened, if somebody went to search for Ronna Romney McDaniel a group of others, number of congressmen, in the search bar on Twitter. Start typing the name in and just wouldn't come up. You wouldn’t be able to find them as you normally would with other people. So they’ve been accused of discriminating against conservatives. So, what is the action can you take here?

BRENT BOZELL: One of the things you can do is what Congressman Nunes is suggesting we should do, which is to hold hearings to see if they're in violation of Federal Election Commission rules. Look, Twitter has more power to affect the public conversation than somebody with a 30 million-dollar advertising campaign. When you see now Twitter has been caught not once, but twice, with the shadow banning act.

The first time with employees bragging how they were doing it to ban conservatives, and now. And it’s not just one or two members of Congress, it is Jim Jordan, it is Mark Meadows, it is Nunes, it is Matt Gaetz, what do they have in common? They’re critics of Twitter. And Twitter says it just happens. And we have to look at our quote, unquote “honest conversation model”. There comes a point when you say, come on, this is censorship and you got to make a national issue about it and you have to ask the question, are they violating campaign laws?

(…)

MCSHANE: You and I are having a conversation about it. Obviously, this doesn't make Twitter look great. They have apparently changed the policy apparently, now you search for these people you can find them. Maybe bringing attention to it and having a conversation about it is the best we can hope for. Is that fair or no, there is something legal?

BOZELL: I'm not going to overrule the judge on this one. However, I think you can make an argument if, it is determined that they are deliberately attempting to affect the political picture. That they are, definitively trying to affect the Republican Party in a negative way, then you can look at whether they have crossed the bounds in the world of politics.

I think also, the fact that of the spotlight on Twitter is also a very healthy thing. Look, some of these companies have been out of control. And it is absolutely correct: there has to be transparency. They have to be honest what it is they're doing. And if you watch, if you listen to their explanation about the latest go-round, they just go around in circles, and circles, and circles saying a whole lot that signifies nothing.

(…)

MCSHANE: It’s been a rough week in general, last week or so for these technology companies, Twitter Facebook, Snapchat, their stock prices, this issue, the censorship issue, Silicon Valley-wide issue, Twitter-specific, how do you view it?

BOZELL: Well, I think it definitely is. It’s got to be an issue in there. It's a loss of confidence. When the public has loss of confidence. The public is not going to want to use these venues unless they have to. Facebook is being hurt tremendously by this issue of censorship. Now it is Twitter. And I would submit to you, that Twitter is worse than Facebook. So, I think it’s going to get worse. I hope I'm wrong, by the way. I hope I’m wrong, but I don't think I am.

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