Scott Heiferman, the CEO of Meetup
-- a social networking website based in New York -- said recently that his company will coordinate protests against President Trump with a labor group and with help from a former aide to Hillary Clinton. The effort will bring together over 120,000 anti-Trump activists who are already involved in Meetup groups in the resistance to the president.
Meetup already brings together people with common interests, such as outdoor adventure, arts and crafts, and foreign languages. It will now provide the anti-Trump protest movement, which uses the #Resist hashtag on Twitter, with a social media infrastructure to bring about large responses and direct actions against the president and his policies.
Meetup claims to have 30 million users worldwide held a “resist-a-thon" last month after the president revealed his first executive order that restricted travel and immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. The company allowed 1,000 new "#resist" anti-Trump Meetup groups across the country that are not required to pay the standard $15 monthly fee to advertise events on the website.
Meetup hired Jess Morales Rocketto, who directed Hillary Clinton’s digital organizing, to oversee the organizing platform in concert with another group that is allied with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The effort has already been used to coordinate and mobilize anti-forces in various parts of the country, including Boston’s Logan airport, and a march in Mississippi.
Heiferman told AP News "It's one thing for a CEO to say, 'I'm going to stand up against a politician.'" He added, “It’s even further for the company itself to mobilize people." For him, as for others in the tech industry which has been condemned by many for replacing American tech workers with those located overseas, Trump’s executive orders regarding immigration marked a watershed. "When a certain line is crossed," Heiferman said, "we have a civic duty not to be quiet."
Meetup and Kickstarter, along with approximately 40 other technology companies met earlier this month in New York to discuss how to flout Trump’s policies regarding abortion, immigration, and issues directly related to their industry. Among the companies invited to the confab were GitHub, Amazon, Alphabet, Google, Netflix, Expedia, Adobe Systems, AdRoll, Automattic, Box, Cloudera, Cloudflare, Docusign, Dropbox, Etsy, Evernote, Glu Mobile, Lithium, Medium, Mozilla, Pinterest, reddit, Salesforce.com, SpaceX, Stripe, Yelp, and Twilio, and Zynga.
In addition, Meetup and Kickstarter were among 58 companies that signed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on March 14 as part of a tech industry resistance to Trump revised executive order on immigration and border security.
In February, Yelp, Apple, Twitter, and Airbnb, were among companies that filed a brief in protest of the Trump administration’s rescission of guidance given to public school concerning students who have gender identity issues regarding which bathrooms they should use. Lyft -- a ride-share service -- chipped in $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union for the cause.
Meetup claims to be nonpartisan, noting that it will not restrict pro-Trump groups to use the website.
The political action on the part of Meetup may be an effort to shore up its brand. An article at Silicon.nyc
suggests that the website is now "outdated," having been superseded by websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat,Twitter, and others that provide a "a more real-time feel to the social app."