January 20, 2021

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Future Technology

Snap CEO says decision to limit Trump protected by First Amendment

Angela Lang/CNET Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has a message for critics who cried foul when...


Angela Lang/CNET

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has a message for critics who cried foul when the company decided to stop promoting President Donald Trump’s posts on Snapchat’s Discover page: Take it up with the Bill of Rights.

“We’ve always said Discover is a closed platform, and we chose the types of content we want to promote on our platform,” Spiegel told CNBC’s Power Lunch Thursday. “We’re well within our First Amendment rights to decide what shows up on there.”

The comments come after the company decided to stop promoting content from Trump’s account through Snapchat’s Discover feature last week. Snap made the move after Trump said in a tweet on May 30 that if protesters outside the White House breached the fence, they’d be “greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons.” The tweet wasn’t shared on Trump’s Snapchat account.

While the platform’s users can still follow the president and view his posts, the move still sparked the Trump campaign to accuse Snap of “trying to rig the 2020 election.”

“Snapchat hates that so many of their users watch the President’s content and so they are actively engaging in voter suppression,” Trump campaign chair Brad Parscale said in a statement.

Spiegel on Thursday defended the decision, saying there seems to be some “confusion” about the First Amendment. “The First Amendment is very specific. It’s actually designed to protect individuals and private businesses from the government,” he said.

“We want to use our rights to stand up for the things we believe in,” he added.

“We are not currently promoting the President’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” a spokesman for Snap said in a statement last week. “We will 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 together with all who seek peace, love, equality, and justice in America.”

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