Twitter Bars MyPillow C.E.O. Mike Lindell: Live Business Updates

Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow, helped fund a bus tour that promoted Donald J. Trump’s false election claims.
Credit…Erin Scott/Reuters

Twitter said it had permanently barred Mike Lindell, the chief executive officer of the bedding company MyPillow and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, from its service.

The move on Monday night followed numerous tweets by Mr. Lindell promoting debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud.

Mr. Lindell’s Twitter account, which had nearly 413,000 followers, was permanently suspended “due to repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” said Lauren Alexander, a Twitter spokeswoman, in an email.

Corporate America has moved swiftly to try to turn down the volume on assertions by Mr. Lindell, a major Republican donor and one of the loudest voices perpetuating Mr. Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the Nov. 3 elections. Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond removed MyPillow products from their stores last week.

Mr. Lindell also faces legal action over his claims of voting fraud involving Dominion Voting Systems, the company at the center of one of the more outlandish conspiracy theories about voter fraud.

His account’s suspension is the latest in a series of high-profile bans by Twitter since the company permanently blocked Mr. Trump from its service over concerns that he would use the platform to incite more violence like the storming of the Capitol this month.

After the attack on the Capitol, Twitter said it had updated its rules to more aggressively police false or misleading information about the presidential election. As part of that move, Twitter has moved to suspend the accounts of more than 70,000 people who have promoted content related to QAnon, a fringe pro-Trump group that the F.B.I. has labeled a domestic terrorist threat.

Ms. Yellen is the first woman to hold the top job at Treasury in its 232-year history.
Credit…Leah Millis/Reuters

The Senate confirmed Janet L. Yellen to be Treasury secretary on Monday, putting her at the forefront of navigating the fallout created by the pandemic as she advocates for President Biden’s economic agenda.

Ms. Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, was confirmed by a vote of 84 to 15 with support from both 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 thrust into the middle of negotiations over a potential $1.9 trillion economic aid package that is the chief plank of Mr. Biden’s effort to revive the economy. The size of the plan already met with doubts from some Democrats and Republicans.

Ms. Yellen has been a clear champion of continued government support for workers and businesses, publicly warning that a lack of aid to state and local governments could slow the recovery, much as it did in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

At her confirmation hearing and in written responses to lawmakers, Ms. Yellen echoed Mr. Biden’s view that Congress must “act big” to prevent the economy from faltering and defended using borrowed money to finance another aid package, saying not doing so would leave workers and families worse off.

“The relief bill late last year was just a down payment to get us through the next few months,” Ms. Yellen said. “We have a long way to go before our economy fully recovers.”

Shoppers wait outside of a GameStop on Black Friday. An online community of traders seem to be fueling a spike in the store’s share price.
Credit…Go Nakamura for The New York Times

In an epic contest between Wall Street traders who bet against stocks and legions of small-scale investors, the small guys are winning.

On Monday, shares of the struggling video game retailer GameStop surged, adding to a recent rally that has lifted the stock by more than 300 percent in January alone and making it a glaring illustration of the growing power of small investors in certain segments of the financial markets.

Shares of companies like GameStop are becoming detached from the kinds of factors that traditionally help benchmark a company’s valuation — like growth potential or profits. Analysts expect the company to report a loss from continuing operations of $465 million for 2020, on top of the $795 million it lost in 2019.

What seems to be fueling this spike is an online community of traders, who congregate in places like Reddit’s “Wall Street Bets” forum and hype up individual trades. Lately, they’ve made buying short-dated call options on GameStop’s shares — an aggressive bet that the shares will rise — a favorite position.

Market analysts and academics say a rush of new money in such short-dated call options can create a sort of feedback loop that drives the underlying share prices higher, as brokerage firms that sell the options have to themselves buy shares to hedge the contracts.

In GameStop’s case, these small investors have found themselves going up against a different group of speculators. The company’s struggles have also made it a favorite target for short-sellers — who bet on a stock’s decline by selling shares they don’t actually own. Short sellers profit when a stock has plunged and they can buy those same shares back at a lower price.

Of course, with GameStop’s shares surging, those investors are losing a lot of money. And their rush to get out of the trade by buying shares can cause a surge in prices, too, called a short squeeze.

On Monday, the small traders on Wall Street Bets and the messaging site Discord were encouraging each other to hold on to their positions as the short-sellers ran for the exits.

“Am I too late to get on the GME rocket?,” one commenter on Wall Street Bets wrote shortly after 10 a.m.

“No buy the dip,” another responded.

On Discord, the message was clear.

“GME ONLY UP,” one commenter wrote.

Budweiser’s Covid-19 awareness advertisement includes two health workers who were being vaccinated.
Credit…Budweiser, via Associated Press

Budweiser, the beer giant whose commercials featuring Clydesdale horses, croaking frogs and winsome puppies made it one of the most beloved Super Bowl advertisers, is opting out of the game-time broadcast this year for the first time in 37 years to focus on raising awareness for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Budweiser, an Anheuser-Busch company, said Monday that it would donate portions of its advertising budget this year to the Ad Council, a nonprofit marketing group at the helm of a $50 million ad blitz to fight coronavirus vaccine skepticism. Instead of debuting a splashy big-game commercial, as Super Bowl advertisers often do in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 7 match, the beer company released its 90-second online vaccination ad, titled “Bigger Picture.” (Anheuser-Busch will still feature prominently during the game, with ads for several of its other beer brands.)

Other Super Bowl stalwarts, including Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Pepsi, will also be missing onscreen. As the pandemic disrupted the sports industry, many companies hesitated to pay CBS roughly $5.5 million for a 30-second slot during a game that some worried could be delayed or even canceled.

In the Budweiser Covid-19 vaccination ad, the actress Rashida Jones urges viewers to “turn our strength into hope” while the melody of “Lean on Me” plays as inspirational images from the pandemic are shown. Ms. Jones, who recorded her narration while isolated from other people in a Hollywood facility, said in an interview that “obviously people want to be entertained, they want to watch funny commercials,” but “what’s most important is that we prioritize this next phase.”

The Super Bowl advertising season, which usually extends beyond the broadcast into weeks of teasers, celebrity reveals, YouTube debuts and celebratory live events, is more subdued as companies struggle to adopt an appropriate tone after a year full of marketing missteps.

“You can’t pretend like everything’s OK,” Ms. Jones said. “People can sense when brands are exploiting a moment.”