Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel defended the company’s decision to not promote posts made by President Donald Trump, asserting that the company has a First Amendment right to do so.
Spiegel made the remarks during an interview on CNBC on Thursday.
The company announced last week that it would no longer promote posts from the president in the app’s Discover section, adding that it would not “amplify voices who incite racial violence.”
The announcement came after Twitter fact-checked two of the president’s tweets and put a warning on another that it was “glorifying violence.” Meanwhile, Facebook has essentially taken the opposite stance, leaving the posts up without any warning.
In response to Snapchat’s decision last week, Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, accused the company of trying to “rig the 2020 election” by “illegally using their corporate funding to promote Joe Biden and suppress President Trump.”
On Thursday, Spiegel defended Snapchat’s decision.
“We’ve always said Discover is a closed platform, and we choose the types of content we want to promote on our platform. So we’re well within our First Amendment rights to decide what shows up on there,” he told CNBC, adding: “I think it was a relatively easy and straightforward decision and we’ll continue to create a Discover experience that reflects our values and promotes the types of content that we think are important for our community to see.”
The Snapchat CEO also touched on Trump’s social media executive order, which takes aim at liability protections websites have under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The order is already facing a legal challenge, claiming that it is unconstitutional, specifically violating the First Amendment.
“So I think the thrust of Section 230 was to protect and promote people’s ability to speak freely on these technology platforms. I’m not sure, frankly, how these changes that are being proposed would impact Section 230, but I do think it is important to reiterate the First Amendment,” Spiegel said. “There seems to be some confusion about the First Amendment and who that applies to. The First Amendment is very specific: it’s actually designed to protect individuals and private businesses from the government.”