The popular messaging platform Snapchat has announced it would remove US President Donald Trump from its Discover tab, accusing him of promoting racial violence and injustice in tweeting about rioters outside the White House.
“We are not currently promoting the president’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” Snap said in a statement on Wednesday. “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.”
Discover promotes news publishers, elected officials, celebrities and other “influencers” who have a presence on the platform. Trump is followed by more than 1.5 million Snapchat users, a number that tripled over the past year thanks to regular promotion, according to a Bloomberg report last month. This was part of his campaign’s outreach to young voters.
Snap made the decision over the weekend, the company explained, after Trump tweeted that “protesters” who tried to storm the White House “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.” The remark was quickly denounced as racist by the mainstream media.
The Trump campaign responded to the announcement by accusing Snap of “trying to rig the 2020 election” and “actively engaging in voter suppression.”
“If you’re conservative, they do not want to hear from you, they do not want you to vote. They view you as a deplorable and they do not want you to exist on their platform,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.
Social media platforms have been under tremendous pressure from the president’s critics to suspend, censor or remove his presence, even before the protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week escalated into riots across the US. Twitter first“fact-checked” his opinions about mail-in ballots, then suppressed one of his tweets about looting in Minnesota claiming it “glorified violence.”
Facebook has so far refused to censor the president, despite tremendous pressure from high-ranking employees as well as the media and Democrats.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent out an open letter to employees on Sunday, condemning the treatment of “black people and people of color in America” and arguing that “circumstances call for a more radical reorganization of our society,” such as establishing a commission on “Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations.”