Shopify Is Making It Harder to Buy Trump Merch
The platform is joining several others that have banned the president.
It's not just social media giants that are taking a stand against Donald Trump after yesterday's Capitol Riots. TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal report that Canadian tech firm Shopify, which handles e-commerce for both Trump's personal brand, TrumpStore, and his official campaign paraphernalia, has suspended access to both sites. Currently, if anyone heads to either page, an error appears instead of product listings for the Trump flags and hats that became symbols of not only his loyal legion of supporters but also the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"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. "As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump."
It's a hit to Trump's continued fundraising efforts. According to CNBC, more than $4 million worth of transactions happened on Trump's campaign merch site in March and April 2020 alone.
Previously, Tobias Lütke, Shopify's founder and chief executive, stated that his platform would refuse to engage in what he called "censorship" and allowed any customer to use the platform. In a now-deleted letter, Lütke wrote that "commerce is a powerful, underestimated form of expression" and that shoppers and voters were both exercising "free expression."
Bloomberg adds that after the letter's publication, Shopify did revise its stance. In 2018, Shopify banned right-wing groups affiliated with the Proud Boys and in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, the platform donated a portion of sales to civil rights organizations.
Of course, Shopify's actions only affect Trump's two e-commerce ventures. Other stores selling unofficial Trump merch are still using Shopify's services.