Twitter bans President Trump after US Capitol attack

(13 January 2021) These are anxious days for the United States.  In the wake of the attack on the Capitol building in Washington, DC, Americans are being confronted with some serious questions about the direction of their country.  Even though the Trump presidency will end next week, Trump is likely to remain a significant source of opposition over the next four years. 

Not even a Senate impeachment conviction in the coming weeks will keep Trump from maintaining his hold over most of the conservative half of this deeply divided country.  While a conviction of the impeachment charge would forbid him from holding the presidency again, Trump will still have millions of loyal supporters who will continue to feel aggrieved over this election result.

An effort is already underway to isolate and marginalize Trump as Twitter shut down his account along with the accounts of thousands of his supporters over the weekend.  While this banning was not surprising given the accusations of incitement made against Trump, it does raise larger questions about the future of freedom of speech in the internet age. 

Twitter, Google and Facebook are all private companies who are within their rights to remove anyone who does not abide by their terms of service.  However, they enjoy near-monopolistic power and have become de facto public utilities not unlike the phone companies of old.   Social media companies like Twitter may therefore be targeted for antitrust break-up or perhaps some kind of government oversight down the road. 

The backlash against Twitter was swift this week as the stock has declined 10% in recent days.  Politics aside, part of the reason for the decline is that Twitter has lost its most famous and profitable user, President Trump.  But the other reason for the decline was that Twitter could see its traffic decline as alienated conservative users abandon the platform.  While the rival app Parler has been shut down by its webhost owner, Amazon, it seems likely that rival conservative social media may emerge during the post-Trump era.

The Twitter stock price provides a possible window into future developments.  In the near term, we could see more troubles for Twitter in the coming days.  The Mars-Uranus conjunction on January 20 will align with natal Ketu and could coincide with more volatility in the share price.  The Sun-Saturn conjunction on January 22-23 will reiterate the T-square affliction to Mercury and the Midheaven again. 

Of course, it is important to remember that these planetary alignments may simply reflect more downside in the share price and may not necessarily indicate more backlash against Twitter's policies.  But these alignment do suggest that the month of January as a whole could prove challenging for Twitter and its CEO, Jack Dorsey.

February doesn't look much better as Saturn will form a square aspect with natal Rahu (13 Libra) and then conjoin the 2nd house cusp (14 Capricorn).   These negative influences suggest more downside for the stock price is very possible.  It also increases the likelihood that Twitter and Dorsey will remain on the defensive in the free speech debate.

The outlook for Twitter improves in the late spring, however, as Jupiter will station retrograde at 8 Aquarius in June.  This Jupiter placement will exactly aspect Mercury and the Midheaven and should reflect better days for Twitter.  This suggests some favorable resolution is more likely, perhaps such as clarifying its free speech policy which brings back conservative users.   We shall see how this important debate unfolds in the months ahead. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Despite last week's events, most stocks markets are still trading at or near their all-time highs this week.  Investors are focused on the promise of a much larger Covid stimulus package from the incoming Biden administration.  Biden is expected to announce the details tomorrow so we will see how the market reacts.   The continuing rally is perhaps less surprising given the multi-planet alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Mars, Uranus and Chiron. 

However, bullish planets Jupiter and Mercury are now separating from the alignment which may weaken positive sentiment.  Moreover, this will leave more bearish planets (Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Chiron) in the alignment which will increase the downside risk in the coming days. 

Next Wednesday's Mars-Uranus conjunction is also worth marking on the calendar.  This is a more volatile combination which is likely inauspicious for the incoming Biden administration, and probably unwelcome for the stock market. 

For more details, check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.