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Snap says it is no longer promoting Trump’s account, adding to social media backlash against president

A Snapchat logo at a company site in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump’s account in the “Discover” tab on the social media app, the company said Wednesday, after a week of showdowns between the president and social media companies.

The president’s account, realdonaldtrump, will still be live on the app, and people can still search and subscribe to it. But it won’t show up in the tab that suggests stories to watch or people to follow.

“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” Snap spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said. "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.”

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Snapchat, a social media app to share disappearing photos, videos and time-limited “stories,” is especially popular with millennials and other younger users. It has 229 million daily active users, it said in its first-quarter financial results, even bigger than Twitter’s 166 million daily active users.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Trump has 1.5 million followers on Snapchat, a number that tripled over the past eight months.

Trump’s Snapchat account appears to post mainly videos of supporters and news clips of his activities. His current story on the app is a favorable broadcast of his walk from the White House to a nearby church. That appearance has received widespread criticism after protesters were cleared from Lafayette Square just before the president’s photo-op.

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, made the decision over the weekend after a week of protests engulfed the country, and Trump’s comments provoked social media company Twitter to slap a warning label on several of his tweets.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale accused Snapchat of trying to “rig” the upcoming presidential election. “Snapchat hates that so many of their users watch the President’s content and so they are actively engaging in voter suppression,” Parscale said in a statement.

Twitter first added a fact-check label to two of Trump’s tweets where he made unsubstantiated claims that mail-in ballots are fraudulent. Later last week, Twitter labeled and limited the spread of a Trump and White House tweet for “glorifying violence.”

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted on Friday, adding, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

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Trump retaliated against the fact-check labels by signing an executive order that seeks to change a law that has been core to social media’s success. The law, Section 230, protects tech companies from being held liable for the vast majority of user posts.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday defended the company’s decision to retain similar posts from Trump on its network. That has prompted some users to call for people to “delete Facebook” and employees to speak up and even resign in opposition to the company’s decision.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel addressed the country’s protests and social media’s place in a lengthy memo to employees over the weekend.

Twitter’s decision to label Trump’s tweets was two years in the making

“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,” Spiegel wrote Sunday, without mentioning the president specifically. “We will make it clear with our actions that there is no grey area when it comes to racism, violence, and injustice — and we will not promote it, nor those who support it, on our platform.”