Following the U.S. Capitol riots, a slew of tech and software companies took a stand against the violent rhetoric from the former president and his followers. It began with Twitter, which permanently banned Donald Trump from the platform after his tweets were deemed to be inciting further violence and misinformation. This began a momentum that crashed over the internet like a wave, with Facebook, Shopify, Spotify, and even Pinterest banning the former president.
On Wednesday Google told its advertisers that it has paused some ads since January 6, given the violent acts in Washington. And eight days later, the company banned political ads until January 21, a day after Joe Biden’s inauguration as president.
As Trump accounts continued to be suspended, other prominent companies like Salesforce also made a distinction on where they stand. The Make America Great Again Committee used Salesforce’s platform to send fundraising emails that included misinformation about contesting the election the day before the Capitol riots, according to Vice. The group is jointly run by Donald J. Trump for President Inc., Save America, and the Republican National Committee (RNC).
In response, the SaaS giant said they had “taken action” against the RNC to “prevent its use of our services in any way that could lead to violence.”
“We are all deeply troubled by the terrible events of January 6,” Salesforce said in a statement, referring to the rioting at the U.S. Capitol last week. “And while we all hope that they are never repeated, sadly there remains a risk of politically incited violence across the country. The Republican National Committee has been a long-standing customer, predating the current Administration, and we have taken action to prevent its use of our services in any way that could lead to violence.”
Ian Bremmer, founder of Eurasia Group, the geopolitical consultancy, commented that the most “significant checks on the American president are coming from unelected CEOs,” as tech companies continue to crack down on Trump and the RNC.
A recent survey conducted by Edelman Trust discovered that people trust CEOs more than the government, and they also expect the CEOs of their workplaces to speak up on issues too, whether that’s politics, income inequality, or diversity.
Perhaps this means more transparency about political lobbying and donations moving forward, but there are some people critical of tech executives making such a political stand. Scholar Jerry Davis wrote for Fast Company warning that while the actions taken by tech firms limited potential threats, the fact that a handful of executives had the power to do that reveals another equally troublesome danger posed by such “unchecked power.” “This degree of corporate political power is very problematic for American democracy,” he said.