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Twitter-Fueled Bank Run

Mar 28, 2023

In this episode, I will be discussing a recent news story published by CNN Business on March 14 with the headline “SVB collapse was driven by ‘the first Twitter-fueled bank run’.” Listen again: “SVB collapse was driven by ‘the first Twitter-fueled bank run’.”

The Story Behind the Bank Run

The story revolves around a massive bank run at Silicon Valley Bank. Customers withdrew $42 billion in one day, leaving the bank with a negative cash balance of $1 billion. This event was driven by what some call “the first Twitter-fueled bank run,” referring to social media’s role in amplifying panic and accelerating withdrawals.

Bank Run and Twitter’s Impact

A “bank run” is a situation where a large number of depositors simultaneously withdraw their money from a bank due to fears of the bank’s insolvency. In this case, the term “Twitter-fueled” emphasizes how the rapid spread of information and concerns on the social media platform played a significant role in the bank’s collapse. This is because prominent venture capitalists raised alarms about the situation on Twitter, and this rapid spread of information, combined with the ease of executing withdrawals, created a highly destabilizing situation for the bank.

The Idiom: Fueling the Fire

Now, let’s explore an idiomatic expression that captures the impact of social media on this event: “Fueling the fire.” This phrase refers to actions or situations that intensify an existing problem or conflict, much like adding fuel to a fire makes it burn stronger and hotter. In the context of the Silicon Valley Bank run, the rapid spread of concerns and rumors on Twitter fueled the fire of panic, ultimately leading to the bank’s collapse.

Presentation Skills Seminar for ESL Students

Before we review the vocabulary, remember that I offer a fantastic video seminar on giving presentations in English. In the seminar, I’ll give you all kinds of tips to help you improve your presentation. Simple things, like using humor cautiously, reducing the length of the presentation, avoiding the “robot voice” when reading your presentation, and using inclusive language. Inclusive language means using gender-neutral terms to avoid excluding or offending anyone. Check out the video on the webpage,

Vocabulary Review

Thank you for listening to “English for Economists.” Today you learned:

A “bank run” is when depositors withdraw money from a bank due to insolvency fears.

“Twitter-fueled” highlights Twitter’s role in amplifying panic during the bank run.

“Fueling the fire” refers to actions that intensify an existing problem or conflict.

If you found the impact of social networks on the economy interesting, check out my December lesson called “What is a ‘FinTech’ scheme?

You made it to the end of the lesson! Good for you. Take care, and I’ll be back soon with more English for economists. This is Alan Robert, goodbye.


Image credit: Credit: Masterfile (Royalty-Free Div.)



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