Following the siege of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been quick to disarm President Trump’s accounts. Now, Shopify has announced the closure of two online stores tied to Trump, including those run by the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign.
Red MAGA hats have been used to incite fights over masks, race, and human decency, but no one quite expected their appearance inside the U.S. Capitol (at least, not publicly). Photos from the recent riot show hundreds of the hats, alongside Trump shirts and flags. All of the above were found on a man sitting in Nancy Pelosi’s office. While we’ve known that this merch aligns with violence, Shopify is taking a stand to prevent any more of the messaging from being distributed.
Trump change — Shopify powers e-commerce for more than a million merchants, including, it turns out, Trump’s official store. "Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence," a Shopify spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. "Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause. As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump."
Users who navigated to sites like TrumpStore.com and shop.donaldjtrump.com were met with messages that the sites were unavailable. When active, both Trump online stores offered Make America Great Again hats, Trump 2020 buttons, flags, pennants, T-shirts, and even bobbleheads. Sales from Trumpstore.com flowed to the privately held Trump Organization while shop.donaldjtrump.com funded the official Trump campaign, NPR reported.
Sites like OfficialTrump2020store.com and Trump-Hats.com, however, were among several that were still active, highlighting how difficult it can be for technology companies to begin policing websites.
Presidential pollution — Still, it goes without saying that much of this censorship should’ve taken place earlier. Facebook is notorious for Q-Anon conspiracy theories, while other fraudulent news has been spread on apps like Parler. Had action been taken earlier, could Wednesday’s events have been stopped, or at least, anticipated?
It’s unclear whether other e-commerce providers, such as Amazon, Etsy, or eBay, will remove any Trump merchandise or Trump-affiliated sellers from their online marketplaces. Without action, these sites could become infested with Trump paraphernalia, but we know the president’s supporters will claim a violation of their rights. I thought they wanted to be oppressed?