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Snapchat to stop promoting Trump's content

The move brings Snapchat more in line with Twitter's approach to the president's rhetoric, while Facebook has maintained it will not take action.
Evan Spiegel
Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel.David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Snapchat said Wednesday it would no longer promote President Donald Trump’s content in its Discover section, a move that brings the messaging company closer to Twitter's approach in the ongoing debate over political speech.

The company said in a statement that it would not “amplify voices who incite racial violence.”

Snapchat’s Discover section typically features content from news organizations, brands, celebrities and sometimes politicians. The president’s account remains visible on the platform, and anyone can follow the account for updates.

Snapchat's change will remove Trump from the Discover section.

“We are not currently promoting the president’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform," the company 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.”

Snapchat is not the first social media company to take action on content posted from the president’s officials accounts in the last several weeks. Twitter appended a label over one of Trump’s tweets saying it “glorified violence,” adding that the tweet broke the company’s rules, but added that “Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.”

The tweet included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a reference to a racist quote from then-Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in 1967.

The tweet was then reposted to the White House’s official Twitter account, and subsequently enforced with the same actions from Twitter.

Facebook has taken no action, a stance that has become the source of external and internal pressure on the company.

Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout on Monday for what employees deemed insufficient action on the president’s inflammatory posts. The posts that were labeled by Twitter as “glorifying violence” remain visible and shareable on the president’s official Facebook pages.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale accused Snapchat of trying to rig the upcoming election and said 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."

“Snapchat hates that so many of their users watch the President’s content and so they are actively engaging in voter suppression," he said. "If you’re a 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.”

There is no evidence of Snapchat trying to rig the 2020 election, suppress voters or even censor Trump's Snapchat content, all of which continues to exist on the platform.

The latest posts to Trump’s Snapchat feature were the last few words of Trump’s statement from the Rose Garden on Monday afternoon. In his address, he claimed to have “strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.”

The Snapchat post then features a news clip of Trump walking from the Rose Garden to St. John’s Episcopal Church. The next Snapchat post shows the president holding up a bible in front of the church.

In the minutes before the president’s speech, peaceful protesters were pushed back by law enforcement officers — a crackdown that has since become a flashpoint in the national debate about police violence.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel laid the groundwork for this week's decision in a 2,000-word memo to staff on Sunday night, in which he also called for called for the creation of an American commission to address racial injustice and comprehensive tax reform.

Though he did mention Trump at the time, Spiegel wrote that Snapchat’s Discover tab "cannot promote accounts in America that are linked to people who incite racial violence, whether they do so on or off our platform."