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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump's account on its "Discover" page of curated content, a spokesperson tells Axios, after Trump tweeted comments that some suggested glorified violence amid racial justice protests.

Why it matters: Snapchat is taking action on the president's account for comments he made elsewhere. That's going further than other Big Tech firms and signals a commitment to aligning content served to users with core values, rather than making moderation decisions based narrowly on each post made on its own platform.

What they're saying: “We are not currently promoting the President’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform," a spokesperson for Snapchat parent Snap tells Axios. The company made the decision over the weekend.

  • "We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover," the spokesperson added.
  • "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.”

Yes, but: This doesn’t mean Trump's account is being taken down. It will remain fully accessible to the public, so people who subscribe to his Snapchat account or search for his account will still be able to find his content.

Snapchat recently decided it will no longer promote accounts belonging to those who incite racial violence and injustice, even if done off of its platform.

  • In a memo posted online Sunday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said, "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."
  • He also noted that Snapchat "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."

How it works: President Trump's account on Snapchat is "starred," which means it's been verified as belonging to someone of public interest.

  • In addition to appearing in the feeds of those who subscribe to them, starred accounts are also eligible for promotion on Discover, which Snapchat editors curate.

Between the lines: Snap makes decisions to promote and not promote different accounts on Discover all the time. Under existing policies, Snapchat weighs whether to leave accounts off Discover in part if an account has multiple violations of Snapchat's guidelines or lots of reports from users.

  • Making a promotion decision based on off-platform behavior is a departure from that approach. Snapchat has not yet indicated that the president has violated any of its policies on its platform.

In response to the decision, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement:

  • “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.”

The big picture: Snapchat is now the second major internet company to take action on the president's account, following Twitter. Facebook is under intense pressure to take more action on Trump's posts.

  • Tech companies have broadly been taking more action on content from world leaders and policymakers, as the coronavirus pandemic and global protests have heightened the stakes of misinformation and inflammatory language.

Be smart: The decision aligns with Snapchat's more editorially focused curation approach.

  • The company fact-checks ads, while Facebook and Google do not.
  • Its platform is also not designed to promote viral content, but rather content that's custom-tailored to a user's preferences or is curated by Snapchat's editors.
  • Snapchat is private by default, and it isn't designed so that anyone can speak publicly to the entire Snapchat community. 

Go deeper

Aug 20, 2020 - Technology

Reddit says new policies have lowered hate speech posts by 18%

Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Nearly two months after Reddit made changes to its hate speech policies, including banning the pro-Trump subreddit r/The_Donald, along with 2,000 other subreddit groups and users, it says it's already seeing a lot less hate speech on its platform.

Why it matters: Reddit has for years faced intense scrutiny for its hands-off policies on hate speech. The recent protests around racial justice finally pushed it to make changes to its rules this summer.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries on Saturday, per a Liberty County Sheriff's Office statement to media outlets.

The big picture: Some 147 passengers and 13 crew were aboard the Empire Builder train, which runs from Seattle to Chicago, when five cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in an emailed statement. The National Transportation Safety Board said it's investigating the derailment.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.