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Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Snapchat will permanently ban President Trump's account on Jan. 20, Axios has learned, after locking it indefinitely last week following the Capitol siege.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign and digital team relied on Snapchat as a key platform to reach younger audiences before the company started limiting its reach in June. The majority of Snapchat's users are under 30.

What's happening: “Last week we announced an indefinite suspension of President Trump’s Snapchat account, and have been assessing what long term action is in the best interest of our Snapchat community," a spokesperson emailed Axios.

  • "In the interest of public safety, and based on his attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have made the decision to permanently terminate his account.” 

Details: Trump's account in recent months repeatedly broke Snapchat's rules against misinformation, hate speech and glorifying or inciting violence, company sources say.

  • One source tells Axios that the Trump account had attempted to violate policies "dozens of times." After each incident, Snapchat immediately removed his content before it gained much visibility and sent warnings to his team.
  • The move was sparked not just by actions on Snapchat, however, but by Trump's record of inciting violence on other platforms, company sources say. Snapchat leaders felt banning Trump was a matter of broad public safety.

Flashback: Citing the societal effects of Trump's inflammatory rhetoric, Snapchat in June stopped promoting his account in its "Discover" section, which features professional content and content from prominent people.

  • That preemptive action meant that Trump’s account was not visible to Snapchat users unless they chose to subscribe or search for him. 

The big picture: Snapchat follows Twitter, Shopify and a few other platforms in permanently banning Donald Trump's account following last week's events.

  • Last week, Snapchat was the first platform to announce it was indefinitely suspending Trump's account. Many other platforms have put temporary restrictions on his account.

Be smart: Snapchat has been able to avoid most of the regulatory and industry pressure around misinformation, in part because it has stricter standards around the way it polices content.

  • The app has no public newsfeed for unvetted content to go viral and keeps user-generated content physically separated from the professional, vetted content in Snapchat's Discover section.
  • Snapchat also routinely blocks certain keywords, like "Stop the Steal," from showing up in its search bar.

What to watch: The Capitol siege has already begun to ignite a conversation around how social media platforms are structured and monitored.

  • While Snapchat is smaller than platforms like Facebook and Google, its architecture has proven to be effective both in limiting misinformation at scale and preventing bad actors from congregating and planning real-world violence.

Go deeper: Snapchat locks Trump's account amid chaos in Washington

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech is outsourcing its hardest content moderation decisions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Faced with the increasingly daunting task of consistent content moderation at scale, Big Tech companies are tossing their hardest decisions to outsiders, hoping to deflect some of the pressure they face for how they govern their platforms.

Why it matters: Every policy change, enforcement action or lack thereof prompts accusations that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are making politically motivated decisions to either be too lax or too harsh. Ceding responsibility to others outside the company may be the future of content moderation if it works.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.