Tech

Salesforce has cut off emails from the Trump campaign

Following riots at the Capitol, emails from the usually prolific and needy Trump campaign suddenly went quiet. But don't chalk it up to remorse.

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The great de-platforming continues. After being cut off from the likes of Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat, it appears that President Trump has also lost his email. According to Vice, the Trump campaign went eerily quiet after riots at the Capitol, not because it was carefully considering its response, or because it thought an attempted coup might be a bad time to ask for cash contributions, but instead because backend provider Salesforce cut it off

Trump's email list has been considered one of the most valuable in Western politics with an estimated 20 million subscribers, though the number could be far higher than that. The Trump campaign has made plenty of money from the list by selling its contents to various buyers, reportedly for millions of dollars. Like so many other avenues for spreading the Gospel According to Don — like social network Parler, which desperately sought to secure Trump's patronage — this one's now been closed to traffic.

Another one bites the dust — The email address contact@victory.donaldtrump.com normally sends multiple inflammatory emails a day, most recently imploring supporters to donate to the Official Defend America Fund, which will presumably burn money disputing what the courts have unanimously dubbed a free and fair election.

The last email was sent on January 6, only hours before the violent insurrection that left five dead when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol building.

It turns out that the Trump campaign sends its emails through a service provider called ExactTarget, which is owned by Salesforce. Vice emailed the company about Trump's radio silence and was told that Salesforce has "taken action" against the Republican National Committee to "prevent its use of our services in any way that could lead to violence." The RNC helps to coordinate the emails.

Most of the emails sent by the Trump campaign since the November 6 election have falsely suggested that the election was fraudulent — a rallying cry that brought his supporters to the Capitol in the first place, and which he then exacerbated with a video appearance which most networks and social networks subsequently pulled. The funds garnered from email campaigns go not just to disputing the election, but also to paying campaign debts, and to the RNC's coffers. Some have said that could mislead supporters into donating under false pretenses. Which, granted, would be very on-brand.

Deplatforming — Republicans will no doubt cry censorship in the wake of this new ban — particularly Trump lackeys like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Matt Gaetz — as they have in each instance. They're all welcome to moan about it on Parler, where facts don't matter and confederate flags and swastikas are commonplace. Oh, no, wait, they can't. Because Parler was yesterday de-platformed by Amazon Web Services.

It's not a violation of the First Amendment to de-platform, as these are private companies and they don't have to do business with people threatening to harm others, or turning a blind eye to it. Though it's clear the biggest players in the tech sector have too much power, the solution isn't forcing them to allow dangerous rhetoric, hate speech, and conspiracy theories, but, rather, to make them less powerful through antitrust means so that they can't squash any independent business on a whim.

Most corporations — from advertisers to service providers — won't want to associate themselves with a toxic platform like Parler, or a toxic figure and national embarrassment like Donald Trump. That's simply the free market that conservatives love working as designed. Unbridled capitalism and unconstrained consolidation created the tech monsters they now decry. America made the right to ban people as they see fit part of their founding charters. And at the end of the day, freedom of speech may be a constitutional right, but building an audience (and inciting it to violence) on someone else's platform isn't.