Just months ahead of the 2020 election, Snap (the company which owns the multimedia messaging app Snapchat) yanked President Donald Trump off its Discover feature where it promotes news, celebrities, elected officials and influencers.
The tech company announced on June 3, “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.” The decision came just days after Trump tweeted that the Secret Service would defend the grounds of the White House if protesters breached the fence. Trump’s campaign manager responded by accusing the company of “trying to rig the 2020 election.”
“At this point, it is no surprise to anyone that Big Tech doesn’t believe in free speech and will happily censor views with which they disagree. But this move is extraordinary even when measured by that low bar,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Politico. “Snapchat is explicitly censoring admittedly unobjectionable speech as punishment for completely unrelated speech off of Snapchat’s platform.”
Snap previously waded into politics in 2019, when it set itself up as a fact checker for political advertising on its platform. Snap had a net worth of $31.74 billion as of Aug. 21, 2020, roughly $2 billion in annual advertising revenue and more than 101 million U.S. users. The platform is especially popular with youth, with 13 to 24-years-olds making up 90 percent of its user base.
The California-based tech company’s liberalism is clear because of what it cracks down on (Trump) as well as what it promotes (pedophilia, encouraging minors to sext).
- Snap stopped promoting Trump in its Discover feature in June 2020. Company reps said it will not “amplify voices who incite racial violence,” after it interpreted Trump tweets praising the Secret Service’s protection as promoting violence.
- In April 2020, Snap used the Discover feature to promote a Teen Vogue story encouraging sexting. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation calls sexting “underage pornography” and condemned Snapchat’s decision as “socially irresponsible” since it can make children vulnerable to sexual predators.
- Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told CNBC it reviews all advertising, including political advertising on its platform for “misinformation.” “I think what we try to do is create a place for political ads on our platform, especially because we reach so many young people and first-time voters we want them to be able to engage with the political conversation, but we don’t allow things like misinformation to appear in that advertising,” Spiegel added.
- Snapchat added a controversial filter to its platform with the sticker: “Love Has No Age.” Some critics pointed out that the message promoted pedophilia.