UPDATE: June 3, 2020, 2:37 p.m. EDT
President Trump’s team has apparently not taken kindly to Snapchat’s actions. According to the New York Times, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said “Snapchat is trying to rig the 2020 election.” OK, Brad.
The social media dominoes are falling for President Donald Trump.
As protests over the killing of George Floyd and police brutality continue across the country, Trump is doing things likes having protesters teargassed for a photo op and raging against Twitter. Now tech companies are taking action.
Snapchat says that it won’t promote the president’s account in the Discover section anymore. Axios first reported the decision, and Snap confirmed the news to Mashable via email. Snapchat made the decision over the weekend.
“We are not currently promoting the President’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” a Snap spokesperson said. “We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover. Racial violence and injustice have no place in our society and we stand together with all who seek peace, love, equality, and justice in America.”
The decision comes after controversy around Trump’s tweets that many view as inciting violence against protesters. Twitter affixed labels to two of Trump’s recent tweets: one that spread false news about voting by mail, and another that glorified violence, which Twitter blurred out. Meanwhile at Facebook, despite internal protests from employees, Mark Zuckerberg has stuck by the company’s decision to allow the content on its platform.
Snapchat’s stand is a bit different. Trump’s account will remain on Snap, searchable and available to subscribers, and there’s no specific content that it is fact checking, removing, or censoring. The change comes in its Discover tab, a section in the app that Snap employees curate. The company’s thinking is that people can say what they want on Snapchat as long as it doesn’t violate community guidelines. But users are not entitled to the “free promotion” of Discover, which has always been curated. Snap does not want Discover to be a place that amplifies messages of hate.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel alluded to the decision in a memo sent to employees, which was made public by the company.
As for Snapchat, we simply cannot promote accounts in America that are linked to people who incite racial violence, whether they do so on or off our platform. Our Discover content platform is a curated platform, where we decide what we promote. We have spoken time and again about working hard to make a positive impact, and we will walk the talk with the content we promote on Snapchat. We may continue to allow divisive people to maintain an account on Snapchat, as long as the content that is published on Snapchat is consistent with our community guidelines, but we will not promote that account or content in any way…. we will make it clear with our actions that there is no grey area when it comes to racism, violence, and injustice – and we will not promote it, nor those who support it, on our platform.
Trump lashed out at Twitter’s actions by signing an executive order meant to make it easier to sue social media companies for the content posted by their users.
There’s no word from the president yet on Snap’s actions. But if the situation plays out like the Alex Jones bans, more social media companies could be taking away Trump’s megaphones for hate.