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Twitter is on track for its biggest one-day drop since
February and Facebook’s plunge from this year’s high accelerated as investors
weighed the prospect of government oversight following the shootings over the
President Trump said he ordered federal officials to work
with the companies to try and identify people whose social-media postings
indicate they may commit mass murder before they act. While Trump did not call
for any specific regulations, the companies have been facing increasing
scrutiny over how they police the content users post online and their power to
influence public discourse.
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The president’s remarks came in the wake of a pair of
rampages in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 29 people. The alleged
gunman who killed 20 people at an El Paso shopping center posted anti-immigrant
screed online just before the attack.
Facebook, too, may be facing more tangible threats. Last
week, the Federal Trade Commission was reported to be scrutinizing acquisitions
by Facebook as part of an early stage antitrust investigation, according to
people familiar with the matter.
READ: Facebook’s like button puts websites into EU privacy
The Global X Social Media ETF fell as much 4.2%, the most
since October. Twitter, the fund’s largest holding, fell as much as 6.3%, its
worst performance since June 3. Facebook, which ranks second in the fund, was down
as much as 4%, extending its decline from this year’s high to 11%. Snap slid as
much as 4.6% while Pinterest lost 4.2%.
Video-game stocks were also broadly lower after Trump cited
them as a cause of violence. Firearms makers rose amid renewed calls for gun
control measures, as is typical following mass shootings.
The S&P 500 Index dropped as much as 2.9% as US equities
were pressured by the latest escalation of trade tensions between the US and