Snapchat will no longer promote Trump's Snapchat account
The company said it won't "amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice."
Snap said Wednesday that it will no longer promote President Donald Trump's Snapchat account in a page of curated content called Discover because it doesn't want to "amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice."
"We are not currently promoting the President's content on Snapchat's Discover platform. 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," a spokesman for Snap said in a statement.
The rare move from the ephemeral messaging app shows that social media companies are being more wary about the type of political content they promote on their platforms ahead of the US presidential election. Conservatives have accused social media platforms of suppressing their speech, but the companies have denied doing so.
On Wednesday, Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale accused Snap of "trying to rig the 2020 election" and called Snap CEO Evan Spiegel "radical." "Snapchat hates that so many of their users watch the President's content and so they are actively engaging in voter suppression," he said in a statement.
Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, told The New York Times that the company made its decision over the weekend to not promote Trump's account after the president tweeted on May 30 that protesters outside the White House could have been "greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons" the president has ever seen if they breached the fence. The tweet wasn't shared on Trump's Snapchat account and Twitter didn't take action against it.
Snap's move also came after Twitter placed a "public interest" notice over Trump's tweet for glorifying violence. Twitter users could still view the tweet after they clicked on the notice. In the tweet posted on Friday, Trump stated "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." He made the remarks in response to news about protests that have erupted following the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota who died after a white police officer pinned his neck down with his knee. The incident was recorded on video and Floyd says in the footage that he couldn't breathe.
Trump also made the same remarks in a post on Facebook, but the social network determined that it didn't violate its rules against inciting violence. Trump references the National Guard in his social media posts so Facebook viewed his remarks as a warning about state action, which is allowed on the platform. Facebook employees this week have protested that decision and staged a virtual walkout.
Trump has denied trying to incite racial violence.
Snap said that Trump's Snapchat account will still be public but that no account has the right to be promoted on Discover. On Monday, Snap published a memo Spiegel sent to his employees in which he denounces racism.
"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," he said in the memo.
That doesn't mean that Snap will remove accounts that it disagrees with or are "insensitive to some people," he said.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order that aims to limit the legal protections that social media companies get for content posted by its users. The executive order faced its first legal challenge yesterday when the Center for Democracy & Technology filed a lawsuit alleging it violated the First Amendment and was retaliatory.
Snap, which is popular among teens, has been growing its number of users amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company has 229 million daily active users. Political campaigns, including for Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden, have used Snapchat to capture the attention of young voters. The president has a following of more than 1.5 million on the messaging app, according to Bloomberg. Outside of videos, Trump's account also shares screenshots of tweets.