YouTube restores Trump’s channel, two years after ban over Capitol insurrection
WASHINGTON – YouTube is restoring the account of former US president Donald Trump, the video sharing platform said on Friday, more than two years after it was banned due to the US Capitol uprising.
The 76-year-old Republican leader – who is running for president again – was unable to post any content and his 2.6 million followers were blocked from commenting on old videos.
YouTube gave Trump a bench days after the uprising of January 6, 2021, when a crowd of his supporters who wanted to stop the confirmation of his victory in the election went to fight Joe Biden on the US Capitol in Washington.
He was suspended for posting content that the platform said incited unrest, adding that he would be allowed to return once “the risk of violence has diminished.”
The former reality TV star spent weeks falsely claiming the presidential election was stolen from him and was subsequently impeached for inciting the riot.
“Starting today, Donald J. Trump’s channel is no longer restricted and new content can be uploaded,” YouTube said in a statement.
“We carefully assessed the ongoing risk of real-world violence, while giving voters a fair chance to hear fairly from major national candidates in the run-up to the election.”
YouTube is the latest of several social media platforms to restore Trump accounts after they were frozen in the wake of the uprising.
Social networking giant Meta announced in January that it was restoring Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts with “new safeguards.”
His Twitter account, which has 87 million followers, was also blocked after the riot, allowing him to communicate through Truth Social, where he has fewer than five million followers.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed more than 400 lawsuits against Trump, praised Meta’s decision.
“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the most prominent political figures in the country and the public is very interested in hearing what he has to say,” executive director Anthony Romero said in a statement.
“In fact, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts have been critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration.”
But advocacy groups like Media Matters for America strongly oppose allowing Trump to tap into the Big Tech giants’ social networking reach.
Trump’s shock victory in 2016 was credited in part to his social media leverage and massive digital reach – but he has yet to post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter since his recall.
A US congressional committee recommended in December that he be prosecuted for his role in the US Capitol attack.