Snap Stops Promoting Trump; Trump Campaign Manager Calls it Attempt to 'Rig' Election

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Snap Stops Promoting Trump; Trump Campaign Manager Calls it Attempt to 'Rig' Election

Snap has decided to stop featuring President Donald Trump's account on its Discover platform, where users can watch curated videos.

The Santa Monica-based company issued a statement Wednesday:

"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. 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."


A Snap spokesperson said the company made the decision over the weekend. On Sunday, Snap CEO Even Spiegel wrote to his employees, condemning racial injustice.

"I am heartbroken and enraged by the treatment of black people and people of color in America," he wrote.

Though Spiegel did not specifically call out President Trump in that letter, he highlighted that Snap has a responsibility to monitor the content on its platform.

"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." Spiegel wrote. "Our Discover content platform is a curated platform, where we decide what we promote. We have spoken time and again about working hard to make a positive impact, and we will walk the talk with the content we promote on Snapchat. 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."

The president's account remains on the platform, and is accessible via search and to subscribers, a Snap spokesperson noted. Unlike some other social media platforms, the spokesperson also said that Snap does not consider itself a "'town square' where anyone can speak publicly to the entire Snapchat community." Rather, as the curator of content on its Discover platform, Snap says it has a "responsibility to our community to show them public content that we believe will enhance their experience on Snapchat."

President Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale issued a response on the Trump campaign's website:

"Snapchat is trying to rig the 2020 election, illegally using their corporate funding to promote Joe Biden and suppress President Trump. Radical Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel would rather promote extreme left riot videos and encourage their users to destroy America than share the positive words of unity, justice, and law and order from our President.

"Snapchat hates that so many of their users watch the President's content and so they are actively engaging in voter suppression. If you're a conservative, they do not want to hear from you, they do not want you to vote. They view you as a deplorable and they do not want you to exist on their platform."

In May, Joe Biden appeared on the featured "Good Luck America" program, where he was interviewed and asked to address the perception that he is "old, out of touch, and kind of lame."

As dot.LA reported Monday, Snap has been the platform of choice for some people and groups seeking to promote violence, theft and property damage in the recent civil unrest.

The self-described camera company is protected from financial liability for such messages by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Last week, however, Trump signed an executive order that may change all of that by enabling federal regulators to punish social media companies for how they moderate content on their sites. Lawmakers and internet freedom advocates called the action illegal and improper under the First Amendment.

As of 12:45 p.m. PT, Snap's share price was down about 1.5% for the day.

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Sam Blake covers media & entertainment for dot.LA. Find him on Twitter @hisamblake and email him at samblake@dot.LA

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E-Scooter Companies Are Quietly Changing Their Low-Income Programs in LA

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
E-Scooter Companies Are Quietly Changing Their Low-Income Programs in LA
Photo by Maylin Tu

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David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Faraday Future Reveals Only 401 Pre-Orders For Its First Electric Car
Courtesy of Faraday Future

Electric vehicle hopeful Faraday Future has had no shortage of drama—from alleged securities law violations to boardroom shake-ups—on its long and circuitous path to actually producing a car. And though the Gardena-based company looked to have turned a corner by recently announcing plans to launch its first vehicle later this year, Faraday’s quarterly earnings report this week revealed that demand for that car has underwhelmed—to say the least.

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Meet CropSafe, the Agtech Startup Helping Farmers Monitor Their Fields

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Meet CropSafe, the Agtech Startup Helping Farmers Monitor Their Fields
Courtesy of CropSafe.

This January, John McElhone moved to Santa Monica from, as he described it, “a tiny farm in the absolute middle of nowhere” in his native Northern Ireland, with the goal of growing the crop-monitoring tech startup he founded.

It looks like McElhone’s big move is beginning to pay off: His company, CropSafe, announced a $3 million seed funding round on Tuesday that will help it develop and scale its remote crop-monitoring capabilities for farmers. Venture firm Elefund led the round and was joined by investors Foundation Capital, Global Founders Capital, V1.VC and Great Oaks Capital, as well as angel investors Cory Levy, Josh Browder and Charlie Songhurst. The capital will go toward growing CropSafe’s six-person engineering team and building up its new U.S. headquarters in Santa Monica.

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