It took the incitement of an insurrection against the federal government, culminating in a multi-hour siege on the Capitol led by white supremacists and conspiracy theorists that resulted in five deaths, but last weekend tech companies finally cracked down on Trump and some of his most extreme supporters.
The most recent blow to the far-right following the attempted coup was the removal on Monday of the website Parler by Amazon Web Services, which leaves the site known for violent threats and hate speech effectively shut down. Prior to Parler getting the boot, last week Twitter and Facebook finally gave Trump an indefinite ban, cutting him off from the more than 100 million combined followers he had on those platforms.
But those bans were just the first dominoes to fall. Over the course of the weekend, tech companies decided that they were not only done with Trump, but with his followers as well. Conservatives, QAnon followers, and white nationalists who have all thrown their support behind Trump started experiencing the crackdown. Just about every place they scampered to shut them down, marking surprisingly swift action for an industry that has been notorious for allowing hate speech, calls to violence, and nonsense conspiracies to persist and grow.
Here are all of the sites, services, and apps that decided to rid themselves of Trump and Trumpism over the weekend.
Facebook has come under fire for enabling Trump, failing to fact-check him, and at times seemingly playing footsie with the administration, likely in an attempt to avoid regulation. So it was surprising that Facebook was one of first of the social media giants to severely punish Trump.
On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Trump will be "blocked" from accessing his account until at least after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office on January 20. "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Zuckerberg wrote in a post. Because Facebook has its tentacles all over the internet, the block will also keep Trump from posting on Instagram.
The company did not lay out what Trump could do to regain access to his account, which is still technically active. It's worth noting that if Facebook does restore access after Biden is inaugurated, Trump will no longer enjoy the additional protections provided to politicians. He will be moderated like an average citizen — at least in theory. That means he's likely going to get himself banned rather quickly.
Trump's reach on social media is best encapsulated on Twitter, where he amassed nearly 89 million followers and used his personal account to tweet out government policy. It's also the platform he used most consistently to incessantly blather on about baseless conspiracy theories and nonexistent voter fraud in an attempt to undermine democracy.
The final straw for Twitter came on Wednesday, when Trump put out a video failing to condemn his supporters as they ransacked the Capitol. That led to a 12-hour suspension, a first for the president. On Friday, Twitter went all the way with it, issuing a permanent ban on Trump that went into effect immediately. With the decision, Trump's full account was effectively wiped off the platform, removing years of Presidential decrees as well as Citizen Trump's opinions on Kristen Stewart.
Twitter policy states that when a person is suspended from the platform, they cannot return in any form. This led to a hilarious game of whack-a-mole, as Trump tried to take over any account he could get his hands on. He tried to tweet from the @POTUS account, but had the message wiped by Twitter. Then he jumped over to @TeamTrump, the Trump campaign’s official account, which got suspended shortly after he used it. Finally, Gary Coby, the digital director of Trump's 2020 presidential run, offered up his account to Trump. That was enough for Twitter to suspend him.
Trump is likely still out there somewhere, tweeting from an account with a name like John Barron to an audience of 12 followers.
Google did not crack down on Trump directly, but it did issue a significant blow to Trump's biggest followers. Over the weekend, Google banned the social media app Parler from the Google Play Store, making it inaccessible on Android devices.
If you've been lucky enough to avoid the existence of Parler thus far, a quick background: Parler is basically an unmoderated version of Twitter that conservatives have been flocking to for months. The site touts itself as a beacon of free speech (though it does have its limits!) and gained popularity once social media sites like Twitter started doing the bare minimum by fact-checking Trump’s posts.
When Trump got suspended from Twitter and Facebook, Parler skyrocketed to the top of app stores as thousands of people flocked to the platform. The online fascist party was short lived, though, as Google removed Parler from the Google Play Store on Saturday, citing the app's lack of moderation policy and failure to "[remove] egregious content like posts that incite violence." Parler was filled with calls for killing elected officials, police, and other citizens following the insurrection attempt.
Like Google, Apple decided to be done with Trumpism via Parler. On Friday, the tech giant gave Parler an ultimatum: come up with a plan to moderate the content that appears on the app or get booted from the App Store. On Saturday, that timeline expired and Parler failed to meet Apple's request. The result, as promised, is that Parler is no longer available through the Apple App Store.
If getting the boot from the two biggest app marketplaces wasn't the death knell for Parler, then Amazon got to deliver the final blow. On Saturday, Amazon informed Parler that it would be cutting off the company's access to Amazon Web Services, which Parler used to host its operations.
Even with the app store bans, users could still access Parler via the web. That is no longer the case. Without Amazon Web Services, Parler was left without the infrastructure needed to continue operating. The website is currently offline and seeking a new host.
Trump has not been terribly active on YouTube, despite once being quite the prolific vlogger. But he's got a considerable amount of high-profile supporters on the platform, and they're all feeling the squeeze right now. According to a report from Axios, YouTube is carrying out a widespread crackdown on election misinformation and claims of voter fraud on its platform.
"Due to the extraordinary events that transpired yesterday, and given that the election results have been certified, any channel posting new videos with these false claims in violation of our policies will now receive a strike, a penalty which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube," a YouTube spokesperson told the publication.
YouTube has not removed or suspended Trump's account, though it did take down the video in which Trump failed to denounce the violence of the insurrectionists.
Unlike YouTube, Twitch actually pulled the trigger and decided to disable Trump's account entirely, preventing the president from going live. The company said that the decision was in direct response to the violence at the Capitol and was done to "prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence." The company had previously removed content from Trump's channel, including a broadcast of his 2016 campaign kick-off event in which he called Mexicans "rapists." The company did not specify how long Trump will be barred from using the platform.
While Reddit banned the biggest Trump forum on the internet, r/TheDonald, months ago for violating its hate speech policy, Trumpism persisted on the platform in smaller communities. Over the weekend, the company banned the largest remaining Trump group, r/DonaldTrump, for inciting violence in connection with the destruction that took place at the Capitol last week. Reddit also said that it is working with its moderators to remove accounts and communities that "promote hate, or encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence against groups of people or individuals."
Similar to Reddit, Discord hosts all sorts of communities and basically relies on those groups to moderate themselves. But on Friday, the company had seen enough from one of the major pro-Trump servers on the platform. According to Casey Newton, Discord banned The Donald "due to its overt connection to an online forum used to incite violence and plan an armed insurrection." The server was connected to the previously banned Reddit community r/TheDonald and the spin-off social network TheDonald.Win.
Snapchat quickly disabled Trump's account on Wednesday following the storming of the Capitol. Snapchat has a surprisingly good record on moderating Trump, as the company previously prevented his account from appearing in the "Discover" section of its platform.
Trump does not have a TikTok account, which is fitting considering he has tried his best to ban the platform from operating in the US. But TikTok is still cracking down on Trump-related content. The platform is removing posts and accounts that use Trump-related hashtags like #stormthecapitol, #patriotparty, #stopthesteal, and #QAnon. TikTok has quietly become a major host of conspiracy theorists, so the moderation effort is likely a welcome one.
Like TikTok, Pinterest has been limiting hashtags related to Trump. The platform isn't particularly political to start with, but it's been doing away with hashtags like #stopthsteal for months now.
Shopify is a popular platform for hosting online stores, and it has given Trump and Trump-related accounts the boot. Last week, the company removed the Trump organization and Trump campaign for violating its policies on supporting violence. Those entities will no longer be able to sell goods through Shopify and the stores have been removed entirely.
Stripe is a major payment processor that handles credit card payments, and it announced that it will no longer handle payments made to the Trump campaign. Trump is still raising money as he continues his misguided and doomed legal challenge of the election results.
PayPal, like Stripe, is done helping fund Trump. The payment processor has been blocking Trump-related groups from fundraising, including groups that helped fund travel to and from the Capitol last week.
GoFundMe has removed accounts that raised money related to the Capitol riot, including fundraising efforts to cover the travel expenses for those going to the Capitol for Trump's rally and the insurrection.