Senior Republican lawmakers are ticked off at Snap Inc, accusing the company of stifling free speech over its decision to stop prompting Donald Trump’s account, which has about 1.5 million followers, on its Snapchat platform.
“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,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Trump adversary-turned congressional ally, told Politico.
“But this move is extraordinary even when measured by that low bar. Snapchat is explicitly censoring admittedly unobjectionable speech as punishment for completely unrelated speech off of Snapchat’s platform,” Cruz insisted.
In an explanation on its decision to stop promoting Trump’s posts, a Snap spokesman clarified Wednesday that while the president’s content will remain up, the company makes it policy “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 with all who seek peace, love, equality and justice in America.”
The Trump campaign shot back, accusing Snap Inc of trying to “rig” the 2020 presidential election in favour of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Biden appeared to gloat over Snapchat’s move, saying that he was “proud to be able to run for President and still be on Snapchat.”
.@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
Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn echoed the Trump campaign’s sentiments, saying Snap Inc’s decision to stop promoting Trump was “rooted in partisanship.”
“Snap should spend less time targeting our Commander in Chief and more time taking down drug dealers and child predators on its platform,” Blackburn added, pointing to the platform’s business model, which includes enhanced privacy features such as messages which disappear after a certain amount of time.
Snapchat’s war with Trump amid the ongoing protests and riots in US cities in the wake of protests over the police killing of African American George Floyd is part of the White House’s broader feud with social media. On May 26, Trump signed an executive order calling for a series of measures to prevent major social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook from regulating user content after Twitter slapped a ‘potentially misleading’ banner underneath one of his Tweets.