Popular crowd-funding platform GoFundMe has announced that it has shut down campaigns to raise cash to travel to pro-Trump protests, claiming that the political activity could result in bloodshed.
The company told BuzzFeed on Monday that it had removed “numerous fundraisers” being used to cover travel expenses to attend demonstrations.
“GoFundMe will remove fundraisers for travel expenses to a future political event where there’s risk of violence by the attendees,” a spokesman for the platform said.
The new policy appears to have resulted from media pressure. BuzzFeed reported on January 8 that more than a dozen fundraising campaigns linked to last week’s pro-Trump rally in Washington, which led to a group of protesters storming the Capitol building, were hosted on the platform. GoFundMe deactivated several of the fundraisers after being contacted by the outlet, but BuzzFeed still complained that several pro-Trump cash appeals had not been removed.
According to BuzzFeed, GoFundMe has already deleted around 1,400 election-related fundraising campaigns, claiming that they violated their terms of service. The outlet reported that with the new policy changes, GoFundMe has removed 40 campaigns created specifically to raise money to travel to DC for future pro-Trump events.
A number of rallies in support of the outgoing US president are expected to be held in the capital and other cities across the country during Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. There are fears that the demonstrations could mirror the unrest seen at the Capitol last Wednesday, which has been linked to several deaths.
An alleged FBI bulletin cited by ABC News Radio reporter Aaron Katersky claims that there will be pro-Trump rallies in all 50 state capitals starting on January 16. According to the unconfirmed report, the feds believe that there could be a “huge uprising” if Democratic lawmakers succeed in their efforts to remove him from office before his term ends.
Trump and his supporters have been blacklisted from a range of social media platforms and internet services following last week’s unrest. Trump has been indefinitely suspended from Twitter, allegedly over fears that his messages on the platform could spark further violence. The move was followed by bans and restrictions from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Shopify, Pinterest and other sites and services.
While some have hailed Big Tech’s crackdown on Trump as long overdue, many others, including foreign leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, have expressed concerns about the ramifications of allowing private corporations to regulate political speech.
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