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Recognition…Erin Scott / Reuters
Twitter said it had permanently banned Mike Lindell, the CEO of bedding company MyPillow and close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, from his service.
Monday night’s move followed numerous tweets from Mr Lindell promoting debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud.
Mr. Lindell’s Twitter account, which had nearly 413,000 followers, has been permanently banned “for repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” said Lauren Alexander, a Twitter spokeswoman, in an email.
Corporate America has been quick to try to tone down the allegations made by Mr. Lindell, a major Republican donor and one of the loudest voices supporting Mr. Trump’s claims of electoral fraud in the November 3rd election. Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond removed MyPillow products from their stores last week.
Mr. Lindell is also facing legal action over his allegations of electoral fraud against Dominion Voting Systems, the company at the center of one of the more outlandish conspiracy theories about electoral fraud.
The suspension of his account is the latest in a series of high profile bans on Twitter as the company permanently banned Mr. Trump from service for fears it would use the platform to incite more violence like storming the Capitol this month.
Following the attack on the Capitol, Twitter announced it had updated its rules to more aggressively monitor false or misleading information about the presidential election. As part of this move, Twitter suspended the accounts of more than 70,000 people who promoted content related to QAnon, a pro-Trump fringe group that the FBI has identified as a domestic terrorist threat.
Recognition…Leah Millis / Reuters
The Senate confirmed Janet L. Yellen as Treasury Secretary Monday and put her at the forefront of addressing the fallout from the pandemic while advocating for President Biden’s economic agenda.
Ms. Yellen, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was sustained by 84 votes to 15, with support from Republicans and Democrats. She is the first woman to hold the top job at Treasury in its 232-year history.
With the confirmation, she will now be in the middle of negotiating a potential $ 1.9 trillion economic aid package, which is the primary mission of Mr. Biden’s efforts to revitalize the economy. The size of the plan has already been questioned by some Democrats and Republicans.
Ms. Yellen was a clear advocate of continued government support to workers and businesses, and publicly warned that a lack of assistance to state and local governments could slow the recovery, much like it did after the great recession.
At her confirmation hearing and in written replies to lawmakers, Ms. Yellen reiterated Mr. Biden’s view that Congress must “act big” to keep the economy from stalling and defended the use of borrowed money to finance another aid package and families worse off.
“The auxiliary bill at the end of last year was just a deposit to get us through the next few months,” said Ms. Yellen. “We still have a long way to go before our economy fully recovers.”
Recognition…Go Nakamura for the New York Times
Little ones win in an epic competition between Wall Street traders betting against stocks and legions of petty investors.
On Monday, shares of ailing video game retailer GameStop rose, adding to a recent rally that rose shares by more than 300 percent in January alone and is a blatant example of the growing power of small investors in certain financial markets.
Stocks of companies like GameStop are breaking away from the factors that traditionally go into evaluating a company’s valuation – like growth potential or earnings. Analysts believe the company will post a loss from continuing operations of $ 465 million in 2020, on top of the $ 795 million it lost in 2019.
What seems to be fueling this surge is an online community of traders who gather in places like Reddit’s “Wall Street Bets” forum and exaggerate individual trades. Lately they have made buying short-term call options on GameStop stock – an aggressive bet that the stock will go up – a preferred position.
Market analysts and scholars say that a rush of new money on such short-term call options can create a kind of feedback loop that drives up underlying stock prices, as brokerage firms selling the options have to buy stocks themselves in order to hedge the contracts.
In the case of GameStop, these small investors have faced a different group of speculators. The company’s struggles have also made it a preferred target for short sellers betting on a stock to fall by selling stocks they don’t actually own. Short sellers benefit when a stock has fallen and they can buy back the same stock at a lower price.
With GameStop stocks rising, these investors are obviously losing a lot of money. And their rush to get out of trading by buying stocks can also result in a price spike known as a short squeeze.
On Monday, Wall Street Bets’s small traders and messaging site Discord encouraged each other to hold onto their positions while the short sellers raced to the exits.
“Am I late to get on the GME missile?” Wrote a Wall Street Bets commentator just after 10am
“No, buy the dip,” answered another.
At Discord, the message was clear.
“GME ONLY UP,” wrote one commentator.
Recognition…Budweiser, via Associated Press
Budweiser, the beer giant whose commercials featuring Clydesdale horses, croaking frogs, and victorious pups made him one of the most popular Super Bowl advertisers, is skipping this year for the first time in 37 years to focus on raising awareness the Covid-19 vaccine.
Budweiser, an Anheuser-Busch company, announced Monday that it would donate portions of its advertising budget this year to the Ad Council, a nonprofit marketing group at the forefront of a $ 50 million commercial blitz to combat skepticism about coronavirus Vaccines. Instead of often posting a zippy big game commercial as it did in the weeks leading up to the game on February 7th, the beer company published its 90-second online vaccination ad entitled “Bigger Picture”. (Anheuser-Busch will continue to have a prominent role throughout the game, with ads for some of his other beer brands.)
Other Super Bowl stalwarts, including Coca-Cola, Hyundai, and Pepsi, will also be absent from the screen. When the pandemic disrupted the sports industry, many companies were reluctant to pay CBS around $ 5.5 million for a 30-second slot during a game that some feared could be delayed or even canceled.
In the Budweiser Covid-19 vaccination advertisement, actress Rashida Jones urges viewers to “turn our strength into hope” while the tune of “Lean on Me” is shown as inspiring images of the pandemic. Ms. Jones, who recorded her narrative while isolated from other people in a Hollywood facility, said in an interview that “obviously people want to be entertained, they want to see funny commercials,” but “the most important thing is that we do this next prioritize phase. “
The Super Bowl advertising season, which typically extends beyond weeks of airing of teasers, celebrity revelations, YouTube debuts, and celebratory live events, is more subdued as companies struggle to find an appropriate tone after a year of marketing missteps to accept.
“You can’t pretend everything is okay,” Ms. Jones said. “People can feel when brands use a moment.”