YouTube has joined Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in lifting restrictions on Donald Trump’s account after two years. The video platform announced Friday that the account of the former US president is no longer under restrictions, and he can hence upload videos.
“We carefully evaluated the continued risk of real-world violence, while balancing the chance for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run up to an election,” the platform said via the YouTubeInsider account. “This channel will continue to be subject to our policies, just like any other channel on YouTube.”
1/ Starting today, the Donald J. Trump channel is no longer restricted and can upload new content. We carefully evaluated the continued risk of real-world violence, while balancing the chance for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run up to an election.
— YouTubeInsider (@YouTubeInsider) March 17, 2023
YouTube, just like other social media platforms, banned Trump in the wake of January 6, 2021 post election riot on the Capitol, which he was believed to have masterminded through his social media posts. YouTube said Trump violated its policy by those posts.
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The Jan 6 Capitol riot resulted in the death of more than six people, including members of the law enforcement. The former president’s refusal to accept the outcome of the presidential election that he lost to Joe Biden, insisting without evidence that it was rigged, inspired his supporters to invade the Capitol where the election results were being certified.
Like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that had also banned Trump for the same reason, have lifted their ban, giving the presidential hopeful the opportunity to return if he wishes.
On Friday, Trump posted on Facebook for the first time since 2021. “I’m back”, he wrote, sharing a news video of his election as the 45th president of the United States.
Trump is taking another shot at the presidency. The Republican had last year announced plan to contest the 2024 election against the Democratic incumbent Biden. Returning to social media is key to his presidential ambition, which for now; he needs to win his party’s primaries to pursue. He so far appears to be the favorite among other Republican contestants, including his closest rival, Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor.
But returning to social media means that Trump will have to abandon Truth, a conservative-backed platform developed after he was kicked out of mainstream social media platforms in 2021.
It is not clear if Trump plans to quit Truth entirely. He said last year that he is not returning to Twitter. “I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth,” he said.
Trump has about 5 million audience on Truth, a fraction compared to about 90 million followers he has on Twitter. Truth was built around him and he has been its biggest cheerleader. Leaving now will mean the collapse of the social media platform. It could also be the end of Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which was created to defy “the tyranny of Big Tech.”