A Valentine’s Day Letter to Shopify

Dear Shopify,

We love your platform, and we have been using it for nearly 2 years to run our business. It is powerful, customizable, and it’s the best e-commerce platform we’ve used thus far.

We don’t want to #deleteshopify.

But we will.

In addition to hosting our store and countless others, Shopify also hosts the online store of Breitbart.com. Breitbart has been responsible for uplifting and inspiring a movement filled with hatred, bigotry, racism, sexism, and “alternative facts.” Breitbart has already been banned by several major service providers for hate speech policy violations, but Shopify is continuing to do business with them. We don’t want to be affiliated with a company that profits from hatred, and currently, that’s exactly what Shopify is doing.

Like many others, we were surprised and disappointed by founder and CEO, Tobi Lütke’s statement on hosting Breitbart, hiding behind free speech, claiming that such censorship “interferes with the free exchange of products at the core of commerce.” We found ourselves especially perplexed by Tobi’s line “But who gets to define that moral code? … who gets to decide what can be sold and what can’t?” That is literally you Tobi & Shopify — You get to decide. You decide the moral code. And we don’t feel you’ve made the right call on this.

You compare yourself with the ACLU and that is a flawed analogy. While your personal position may be in line with the ACLU’s stance, as a business, you have a terms of service that is at odds with your claim. When you say “instead of imposing our own morality on the platform, we defer to the law.” That is false and we were interested to note some of the perfectly legal things you do not approve of on your platform that might offend certain moral codes, such as sexually-oriented products or services. However, you are not a platform for speech. You are a platform for commerce and you reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time. You are choosing not to exercise that right, and we have to wonder why?

A rapidly growing petition asks you to end your relationship with Breitbart. We wonder at what point Breitbart will become a “merchant that is deemed as too high risk to support” under your terms. Can we help?

We call on other Shopify store owners to temporarily shut down their sites and enable their password pages in protest along with a statement on Friday, Feb 17, 2017 to show Shopify supporting and profiting from hatred is unacceptable.

We love you Shopify, we want to give you a chance to make things right. Please make the right call.

With love,
All of us at V Word Market

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