YouTube Reinstates Donald Trump’s Account Privileges
Six days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, YouTube suspended former President Donald J. Trump’s account on the platform. The video platform said it was concerned Mr Trump’s lies about the 2020 election could lead to more real-world violence.
Google-owned YouTube reversed that decision on Friday, allowing Mr. Trump to upload the video to the popular site again. The move follows similar decisions by Twitter and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
“We carefully assessed the ongoing risk of real-world violence while balancing voters’ equal opportunity to hear from key national candidates ahead of the election,” YouTube said on Twitter on Friday. YouTube added that Mr. Trump’s account must abide by the site’s content rules like any other account.
The social media giant suspended Mr. Trump’s account privileges after circulating online that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and fueled the Jan. 6 attack. Two years later, the platforms began relaxing content rules. Under the leadership of Elon Musk, Twitter has eliminated many content moderation tasks. YouTube recently fired members of its trust and safety team, leaving behind a person who was tasked with developing its policy on political misinformation.
Mr. Trump’s announcement in November that he was seeking re-election as president sparked scrutiny at social media companies about whether to allow him to return to their platforms. A few days later, Musk polled Twitter users on whether he should reinstate Trump, and 52% of respondents said yes. Like YouTube, Meta said in January that it was important for people to hear from political candidates before elections.
The former president’s reinstatement is one of YouTube’s first major content decisions under its new chief executive, Neal Mohan, who took the top job last month . YouTube has also recently profanity rules relaxed This way creators who use profanity at the beginning of their videos can still monetize their content.
YouTube’s statement on Friday echoed a pattern of polarizing content decisions by the company and its parent company Google after rivals had already made the same move. YouTube followed Meta and Twitter in suspending Mr Trump and reversing the ban after the Capitol attack.
Since losing his re-election bid in 2020, Trump has been trying to make his social media service, Truth Social, known for its lax content moderation rules, a success.
On Friday, Mr. Trump posted on his Facebook page for the first time since his reinstatement. “I’m back!” Mr. Trump wrote next to a video. “Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business. Complicated.”
Despite resuming Twitter, Mr Trump has not resumed posting from the account.
In his last tweet, dated January 8, 2021, he said he would not be attending the upcoming inauguration at the Capitol.