Twitter fell into the crosshairs of Donald Trump last week when, after years of rearranging its goalposts over what content is acceptable from public figures and what’s not, the social media platform began offering both “fact checks” of his tweets (it’s since walked back that language) and warnings over their inflammatory content. None of this will stick, of course, as Trump’s base is already rattling the flimsy foundation on which they’re executed. So, enter Snapchat, which is aiming to address Trump’s violent rhetoric in a different way.
You remember Snapchat. It’s what we all used before TikTok and Instagram Stories. Well, it’s still there, gathering dust beneath your touchscreen and nursing the wounds dealt to it by Rihanna and Kylie Jenner. If you logged on prior to today, one of the first accounts you’d be likely to see in its “Discover” section is one belonging to Donald J. Trump, a “Snap Star,” per the app. Today, according to a report from CNN, that changes.
“We are not currently promoting the President’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” says a spokesperson for Snap, Snapchat’s parent company. “We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover.”
CNN notes that it wasn’t Trump’s remarks about shooting looters that spurred the decision, but rather his post about the “vicious dogs and ominous weapons” waiting for protestors at the White House. (Lasers, right? The ominous weapons? Gotta be lasers.)
“[W]e simply cannot promote accounts in America that are linked to people who incite racial violence, whether they do so on or off our platform,” added CEO Evan Spiegel in a memo to staff. “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.”
That’s the case for the president’s account, which, in what has to be one of the saddest sentences we’ve ever typed, supporters will now need to seek out on their own. Fair warning, though: Trump himself clearly has no control over its contents. There’s no shaky shots of his KFC dinners, no quick swipes over his trays of crushed Adderall, no disquieting footage of Melania staring out windows. It’s just links to merchandise, sanitized rally clips, and messages from crackpot sycophants like Diamond and Silk.
Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, slammed the decision as an attempt to “rig the 2020 election,” which, based on the service’s declining numbers, sounds a bit hyperbolic. Get banned from TikTok? Then you’re in trouble.
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