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Shopify pulls Donald Trump stores off its platform

Jonathan Shieber
·2-min read
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America Rally" near the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Trump's months-long effort to toss out the election results and extend his presidency will meet its formal end this week, but not without exposing political rifts in the Republican Party that have pitted future contenders for the White House against one another. Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook isn't the only big tech company taking action against Donald Trump's web presence in the wake of yesterday's riots in Washington, D.C.

Shopify, which hosted shops related to Trump's campaign paraphernalia and the outgoing President's personal brand, TrumpStore, has apparently taken down both of those properties.

"Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence. 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," a Shopify spokesperson wrote in a statement to TechCrunch. "As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump."

News of the move was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

It's a reversal of policy for the company, which had previously defended the rights of any customer to use the platform and a refusal to engage in what chief executive Tobias Lütke termed censorship.

In a now-deleted letter Lütke had authored back in 2017, the Shopify chief executive wrote that “commerce is a powerful, underestimated form of expression.”

Drawing a parallel between individual purchases made by consumers and votes, Lütke had said that it was not Shopify’s place to interrupt that free expression, even if personally and as an organization, they disagree with the positions of those on the platform.

Since that 2017 stand, Shopify has softened its position somewhat. In 2018 the company banned some right-wing groups from the platform -- including shops affiliated with the Proud Boys organization (who were involved in yesterday's riot at the Capitol). And, as Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the U.S. the company donated some of its funds to civil rights organizations.