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Facebook, Apple, Twitter Execs: ‘Trump Would Be a Disaster for Innovation’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump // Michael Conroy/AP File Photo

Some of tech’s biggest names say Donald Trump could ruin the United States’ burgeoning startup and so-called innovation economy.

The day before he is expected to announce his pick for vice president, executives from tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Slack, Tumblr and Box co-signed an open letter to the presumptive Republican nominee with a clear message: “Trump would be a disaster for innovation.”

The letter -- whose co-signers included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, former White House chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra, and Hillary Clinton’s former innovation adviser Alec Ross -- pointed specifically to Trump’s views on immigration, an open exchanges of ideas, and tech investments.

The United States’ progressive immigration policies have helped it attract scientists and entrepreneurs from across the globe, the letter said. “Donald Trump, meanwhile, traffics in ethnic and racial stereotypes, repeatedly insults women, and is openly hostile to immigration," the letter continued. "He has promised a wall, mass deportations and profiling.”

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The co-signers support a “free and open exchange of ideas, including over the internet,” the letter said. Trump, on the other hand, has proposed “shutting down” the internet to prevent terrorist groups from radicalizing new members, “demonstrating both poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works,” and regularly revokes press credentials and threatens to punish the “media platforms that criticize him.”

Lastly, government investment in education, research and other elements that support the tech economy is critical, the letter said, but Trump’s “reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions” could discourage nascent businesses from starting up in the United States.

Instead, letter said, co-signers would support someone who believes in “freedom of expression, openness to newcomers, equality of opportunity, public investments in research and infrastructure and respect for the rule of law.”

Other prominent co-signers included Box co-founder Aaron Levie, Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, Lowercase Capital founder Chris Sacca, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Tumblr founder David Karp, and Code for America founder Jen Pahlka.

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