Following Twitter’s lead on (finally) expressing its disapproval on the President’s inflammatory tweets, Snapchat has, well, snapped too. Snap, the company behind the Snapchat app, says it has stopped promoting Trump’s Snapchat account on its Discover home page for news and stories because his public comments on other platforms could incite violence, the New York Times reports.
It was Trump’s tweets about greeting protesters with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” that seemed to be the tipping point for Snap. “We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” Rachel Racusen, a Snap spokeswoman, said to the Times. Prior to Trump’s response to the nation-wide protests — which included forcibly clearing protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets for a photo op — his account was regularly featured on Discover, along with other high-profile celebrities.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel also posted a lengthy blog to Snap’s website, which was originally sent to employees on May 31, 2020. In it, Spiegel says since Snapchat’s Discover is a curated platform (meaning that featured accounts are hand-selected), Snap gets to decide who it promotes and when. “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,” said Spiegel.
Snap will also “contribute to organisations that support equality and justice,” although Spiegel does not mention what those organisations are or how much will be donated, or if it will match employee contributions, while other tech companies have. Cisco, for instance, said it would donate $US5 ($7) million toward specific groups fighting racial injustice. YouTube pledged $US1 ($1) million. Even Facebook said it would contribute $US10 ($14) million, even though it won’t delete or ban Trump’s posts from its platform.
The Trump campaign issued a statement soon after news broke of Snap’s decision. Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager, said:
“Snapchat is trying to rig the 2020 election, illegally using their corporate funding to promote Joe Biden and suppress President Trump. Radical Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel would rather promote extreme left riot videos and encourage their users to destroy America than share the positive words of unity, justice, and law and order from our President.”
For the record, there’s no indication that Snapchat is doing anything to promote Joe Biden. Also for the record, it’s plenty legal to use corporate funding to promote a candidate, it’s literally the American way.
According to Spiegel, Snap will allow “divisive people” to remain on the platform so as long as they publish content that’s in line with Snapchat’s community standards. That includes Trump’s account, says the Times. According to Bloomberg, Trump has about 1.5 million followers on Snapchat — a drop in the bucket compared to the 81.7 million followers he berates on Twitter.