Snapchat Will No Longer Promote President Trump’s Account

Platform's Discover channel won't allow those who 'incite racial violence'

trump on a yellow background in a snapchat screen
The post in question involved threatening violence against protesters at the White House. Photo Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Source: Snapchat, Getty Images
Headshot of Scott Nover

Key Insights:

Snapchat will no longer promote President Donald Trump’s account on its Discovery channel following statements he made off the platform this weekend, the company said today.

“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” a Snapchat spokesperson confirmed to Adweek. “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.”

According to the spokesperson, the decision was made after Trump tweeted that protesters would be “greeted with the most vicious dogs and ominous weapons, I have ever seen” if they came close to breaching the White House fence. (They did not.) 

Snapchat’s decision comes on the heels of Twitter restricting one of Trump’s tweets Friday for violating the platform’s policy on “glorifying violence.” During protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., Trump had tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Trump’s comments—which he also posted on Facebook—did not violate site rules about inciting violence and has been left up, a decision that sparked public condemnation as well as a virtual walkout and resignations from some on his staff.

While Trump did not post these comments on Snapchat, the company said the president’s comments this weekend “have no place in our society.” Snapchat’s community guidelines say users cannot “threaten to harm a person, a group of people, or someone’s property” or encourage violence.

The Snapchat spokesperson confirmed to Adweek that the president’s account is still public and unchanged, and Discover—a highly curated space—is not a “town square” open for public discourse. Trump will also remain a Snap Star, a form of verification for politicians and celebrities.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale rebuked Snapchat’s decision in a long-winded statement with similar language that was used in his criticism of Twitter.

Snapchat notably has no central news feed, unlike most social media platforms, and has consistently emphasized the role of interpersonal communication over broadcasting.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel sent a lengthy letter to his staff over the weekend about racial justice, in which he called for reparations for Black Americans. In the letter, he teased Wednesday’s decision about Trump, writing, “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,” Spiegel added. “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.”

Today, Spiegel took action against the divisive person he was alluding to—the president.

@ScottNover Scott Nover is a platforms reporter at Adweek, covering social media companies and their influence.