As Twitter Inc (TWTR) Stock Continues to Fall, Is the Company Harming Themselves by Going Against Freedom of Speech?

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There is a fine line between censorship and freedom of speech, and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) apparently is trying to find that area where they can both censor certain content while not being accused of limiting free speech. As shares of Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) stock continue to sputter today, the company continues to face issues which seemingly have no “right” solution.

We’ve seen Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) announce changes to their terms of service, in an effort to censor and ban users who tweet “terroristic” type messages, “hate” messages, or messages which target certain individuals or groups of individuals. This is where the fine line lies, a line which the company must find quickly before things get too much out of hand.

Recently Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) revoked the “verified user” status of popular British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, apparently for making comments against women (although the company has not stated a reason). The gay Yiannopoulos hasn’t shied away from letting his feelings be felt, but Twitter apparently doesn’t like what he has to say.

Surely this isn’t a HUGE deal, but this could be the start of problems for Twitter, if they continue to use their own judgement to remove users, ban users, or simply, like in this case, remove the “verified” status from users’ accounts.

The stock is down 0.75% or $0.15 following the news, hitting $19.83 per share. Approximately 4.21 million shares traded hands. TWTR shares have declined 46.00% since June 5, 2015 and are currently downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 40.14%.

From a total of 29 analysts covering Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) stock, 13 rate it a “Buy”, 2 a “Sell”, and 14 a “Hold”. This means that 45% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $56 while the lowest target price is $22. The mean of all analyst targets is $34.39 which is 73.42% above today’s ($19.83) stock price. Twitter was the topic of 45 analyst reports since July 23, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Credit Agricole initiated shares on December 11 with a “Underperform” rating. Morgan Stanley maintained shares with a”Underweight” rating and a $22 target share price in their report from an October 28. UBS maintained TWTR stock in a recent report from October 28 with a “Buy” rating. Barclays Capital maintained the rating on October 28. Barclays Capital has a “Equal-Weight” rating and a $33 price target on shares. Finally, RBC Capital Markets maintained the stock with a “Sector Perform” rating in a report they issued on an October 28.

The institutional sentiment decreased to 1.07 in Q2 2015. It’s down 0.19, from 1.26 in 2015Q2. The ratio is negative, as 102 funds sold all their Twitter Inc shares they owned while 129 reduced their positions. 56 funds bought stakes while 191 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 269.03 million shares which is 10.40% less than the previous share count of 300.24 million in 2015Q2.

Institutional Venture Management Xii Llc holds 100% of its total portfolio in Twitter Inc, equating to 418,115 shares. Rizvi Traverse Management Llc owns 2.80 million shares representing 100% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Ah Equity Partners Iii L.L.C. has 69.57% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 1,202 shares. The California-based Kpcb Dgf Associates Llc has a total of 28.35% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Bain Capital Venture Investors Llc, a Massachusetts-based fund reported 817,155 shares owned.

Twitter, Inc. is a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. The company has a market cap of $13.54 billion. The Firm offers services and products for users, advertisers, developers and platform and data partners. It currently has negative earnings. Products and services for users enables a way for people to create, distribute and discover content, which enables a user on Twitter to create a tweet and a user to follow other users.

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