President Trump will need to find a new online platform to sell merch to his supporters. On Thursday, e-commerce platform Shopify took offline two online stores affiliated with the president in response to Wednesday’s riot at the US Capitol. Visiting them today brings up an error message that says, “this shop is unavailable.” The move, which was first spotted by The Wall Street Journal, comes on the same day that Facebook and Twitter said they would ban Trump until at least after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20th.
“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 spokesperson for Shopify told TechCrunch. “As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.”
The move represents a departure from Shopify’s previous stance on policing its platform. Back in 2017, CEO Tobias Lütke penned a Medium post in which he defended the company’s decision to continue hosting Breitbart’s online store, despite all the hateful and misleading content the outlet was publishing at the time. “Commerce is a powerful, underestimated form of expression,” Lütke said in the post, which has since been deleted. As TechCrunch noted, the company has changed its stance since, with the most notable example before today being in 2018 when it banned several far-right organizations, including Proud Boys.
While the company is not a household name like Facebook and Twitter, Shopify’s decision to remove Trump-affiliated stores from its platform is still significant one. Shopify is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the world. On its website, the company says between 2016 and 2019 its merchants generated $319 billion in economic activity globally.