Donald Trump's Snapchat Filter Is Causing Controversy

September 26th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Snapchat isn't exactly known as a platform for political discourse, but that's not stopping Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He released a "debate day" geo-filter on Monday attacking his opponent Hillary Clinton. While Clinton supporters expressed outrage at Snapchat for providing a platform for the attack ad, the social media move is by no means unprecedented.


Twitter users questioned Snapchat's decision to accept money for what is essentially a debate day attack ad.

That said, the outrage over Trump's filter seems to ignore the fact that Clinton and other presidential candidates have engaged in the same kind of Snapchat warfare. On at least two occasions this year, Clinton's campaign has sponsored filters that attack Trump.

During the Republican National Convention in July, Clinton's campaign released this Snapchat filter:

It allowed users to write quotes that Trump said about his opponent during his RNC speech, with one of his previous, flattering statements about Clinton superposed on the bottom of the screen. The filter was only available in the vicinity of the debate arena, however.

Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also used a similar tactic against Trump in January, as ATTN: previously reported. Cruz's campaign released a filter taunting Trump as "Ducking Donald" after he declined to attend a scheduled debate in Iowa. The difference is that Cruz's filter was only available in certain areas of the state, whereas Trump's is available nationwide.

Where does the Snapchat filter fit in with Trump's social media strategy overall?

Trump has relied heavily on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram throughout his campaign, drawing millions of followers. Snapchat is new territory for the nominee, but it's not an entirely surprising development. After all, Clinton far outpaces Trump in terms of millennial support — despite her own difficulties attracting young voters — and Snapchat's user base is predominantly millennial, as Business Insider reported.


ATTN: reached out to Snapchat for comment, but a representative was not immediately available.