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Twitter screenshot

Leaders in business, technology and culture are pulling the plug on their support for President Trump and some of his closest allies in the final days of his presidency.

The big picture: Trump's political power, and his popularity with a large swath of the Republican base, always protected him from a backlash from business and tech leaders — until now. The Capitol siege proved to be the final straw.

Driving the news: Twitter announced Friday that the platform will permanently suspend President Trump's account. It's the strongest action against the president's account and comes in response to the risk of further incitement of violence.

  • Apple on Friday threatened to remove right-wing-friendly social media app Parler from its App Store if it doesn’t lay out a plan to moderate its content. Google went a step further, suspending Parler from the Google Play store.
  • Reddit said Friday that it had banned the subreddit group "r/DonaldTrump," one of the company's largest political communities dedicated to support for Trump. In the world of social media, that's pretty close to the end of the game.
  • Facebook is facing calls to boot Trump permanently from prominent voices, including from former First Lady Michelle Obama, a slew of celebrities and high-ranking Hill Democrats.

Businesses and billionaires have begun to reconsider their support for Trump, or at least their tolerance for his antics that came with the policies they supported.

  • Many of America's top businesspeople plan to deny future contributions to Republicans who egged on his efforts to overturn the election, sources tell Axios' Dan Primack and Alexi McCammond.
  • Billionaires that bankrolled Trump and applauded his tax policies, like venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Texas banking billionaire Andy Beal, aren't rushing to Trump's defense, per Bloomberg.

Publishers have started to deny platforms and endorsements for Trump and his key allies.

  • Simon & Schuster canceled plans to publish a book by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who aided Trump's efforts to overturn the election and pumped his fist at Trump supporters who later stormed the Capitol.
  • The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal called on Trump to resign this week.

Academic and professional institutions are turning their backs on Trump, too.

  • On Friday, Lehigh's Board of Trustees announced it would rescind and revoke Trump's 1988 honorary degree.
  • A slew of trade groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, which typically supports conservative trade policies, slammed rioters Wednesday and called out Trump for egging on the rioters.
  • The NAM statement, by president and CEO Jay Timmons, was one of the first to raise the idea that Trump should be removed through the 25th amendment.

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.

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.