President Trump’s verified Snapchat account will no longer be promoted within the app after executives concluded that his tweets over the weekend promoted violence, the company said today. His account, RealDonaldTrump, will remain on the platform and continue to appear on search results. But he will no longer appear in the app’s Discover tab, which promotes news publishers, elected officials, celebrities, and influencers.
“We are not currently promoting the president’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Trump, who has more than 1.5 million followers on the platform, has seen his Snapchat following more than triple over the past year in part due to regular promotion in the app’s Discover tab, Bloomberg reported last month. The Trump campaign told Bloomberg that it valued Snapchat’s young audience, many of whom will be voting for the first time in the 2020 election.
Snap’s move comes amid an increasing furor around tweets the president posted over the weekend in reaction to peaceful protests of the murders by police of George Floyd and other black Americans. Twitter placed some of Trump’s tweets behind warning screens for “glorifying violence.” The tweets were also cross-posted to Facebook, which decided to leave them up — triggering a virtual walkout of as many as 400 employees on Monday.
On Sunday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent a message to employees condemning racial violence and calling for the establishment of a national commission on truth, reconciliation, and reparations. While the post does not mention Trump by name, it suggested that it would consider the behavior of elected officials outside of its own platform in deciding whether to promote them. Spiegel wrote:
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.
The decision to remove Trump from Discover was made over the weekend, the company said, after Trump tweeted that protesters would be “greeted with the most vicious dogs and ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”
In a statement, Trump campaign chairman Brad Parscale accused Snap of “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,” Parscale said.
Later in the day, Biden posted a response to the news on Snapchat.
“I just wanted to tell you I’m proud to be able to run for President and still be on Snapchat,” he said.
.@JoeBiden weighs in on Snapchat’s decesion to stop promoting Trump’s account >>— Matt Hill (@thematthill) June 3, 2020
“I just wanted to tell you I’m proud to be able to run for President and still be on Snapchat.”pic.twitter.com/d9D0Lw8fyi
This story has been updated to include a response from the Trump and Biden campaigns.