Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 12, 2021

Parler sues Amazon for kicking it off server, Twitter removes more than 70,000 QAnon accounts, and more 

1

Parler sues Amazon over server ban

Social-media platform Parler, which many conservatives have joined as an alternative to Facebook and Twitter, filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday for denying it web-hosting services and forcing it offline. Amazon Web Services gave Parler the boot on Sunday, accusing the company of failing to do enough to stamp out content that incites violence. AWS said it had noted a sharp increase in dangerous content since last week's storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob aiming to get lawmakers to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Parler said Amazon was trying to discourage competition among micro-blogging services to Twitter's benefit. "AWS's decision to effectively terminate Parler's account is apparently motivated by political animus," according to the complaint, which also accused Amazon of breach of contract.

2

Twitter removes more than 70,000 QAnon accounts

Twitter announced Monday that it had removed more than 70,000 accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory, citing concerns that the adherents could spread material "with the potential to lead to offline harm." In a blog post, Twitter explained that the accounts "were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service." Twitter permanently suspended President Trump's account on Friday, saying he violated rules against inciting violence. Over the last several weeks, he pushed baseless claims of voter fraud, urged Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results, and encouraged supporters to attend a "big protest in D.C. on Jan. 6th," adding, "Be there, will be wild!" This event ended with a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol as lawmakers certified the election results.

3

Stock futures edge up despite concerns market is overvalued

U.S. stock index futures struggled to rebound early Tuesday after they broke a winning streak on Monday in a sign of investor concern that stocks were getting overvalued, with support from coronavirus stimulus efforts. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were up by roughly 0.3 percent several hours before the opening bell. The Dow fell by 0.3 percent on Monday. The S&P 500 lost 0.7 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by nearly 1.3 percent, weighed down by losses for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet. Tesla plunged by 7.8 percent, its worst day since Sept. 23. "Historically, when momentum and sentiment indicators are this stretched, the market is due for a period of consolidation," said Nationwide's Chief of Investment Research, Mark Hackett.

4

Facebook removes 'stop the steal' posts

Facebook said Monday that it was removing all content that references the "stop the steal" rallying cry of President Trump's supporters who believe his unfounded claim that President-elect Joe Biden only won the presidential election thanks to voter fraud. State election officials from both parties, dozens of courts, and the Justice Department have rejected the claim, saying there is no evidence of widespread fraud that could have affected the election outcome. The crackdown on "stop the steal" content is the latest in a string of actions Facebook and other social media companies have taken to curb the spread of misinformation and prevent users from inciting more violence like last week's deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. The move came on the same day as Twitter's purge of 70,000 accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

5

Deutsche Bank, Trump's main lender, halts new business with him

Deutsche Bank, President Trump's biggest lender, has decided against doing further business with Trump or his company following last week's deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, Bloomberg reported late Monday, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. Trump owes the German lender more than $300 million. Signature Bank, a New York lender that has long worked with Trump's family, said it was closing two personal accounts that held about $5.3 million of Trump's money. The lenders are among a growing number of businesses that have distanced themselves from Trump over his encouragement of supporters to march on the Capitol, which they stormed hoping to overturn Trump's election loss. The riot left five people dead.

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