Shopify’s Deplatforming Policy

Donald Trump

Canada’s most valuable company just booted the outgoing US leader off of its platform. Let’s talk about why, how, and if something similar could happen to them, too.

Regular listeners know that Black Swan is a pandemic-focused podcast. But listeners should also know that we will pause that conversation when “talking Canadian tech and tech from a Canadian perspective” requires a new focus.

It’s usually something prompted by our neighbours to the south.

“We’ve come to expect from company policies the norm established by public policies.”
– Vass Bednar

And I would say tech’s response to the sedition and attempted insurrection in the United States certainly qualifies. The number of tech platforms Donald Trump has been deplatformed from is staggering, from Facebook and Twitter to Stripe to Twitch.

Included in that mix is Shopify, a Canadian company, and we’re going to get into all the implications surrounding that decision.

Why, why now, and why Shopify’s still hosting a variety of other brands advocates have been asking to be removed for years?

Bonus question: if more Americans knew Shopify was a Canadian company, and if Trump didn’t have a lot going on right now, would this have caused an international incident similar to Trudeau’s comments at Buckingham Palace or that auto tariff dispute? What about a ‘ban‘ similar to TikTok? Hmm.

We’re also going to talk about the removal of social app Parler by Google, Apple, and Amazon, and what it means when the infrastructure powering our digital lives starts picking and choosing what you get to see.

To do that, we need to separate government policy from corporate policy. To do that, we’re going to need the help of Vass Bednar, Executive Director, Master of Public Policy (MPP) in Digital Society at McMaster University.

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Black Swan is a BetaKit podcast. Hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Produced with support from TWG.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.