YouTube becomes latest platform to lift Trump ban

YouTube is restoring former US President Donald Trump’s account, the video-sharing platform, more than two years after he was banned over the US Capitol riot.

The 76-year-old Republican leader, who is running for president again, has been unable to post content and his 2.6 million followers have been blocked from commenting on old videos.

YouTube suspended Mr Trump days after the January 6, 2021 uprising, when a mob of his supporters seeking to stop confirmation of his election defeat to Joe Biden stormed the US Capitol in Washington.

He was suspended for posting content the platform said sparked unrest, adding that he would be allowed to return when “the risk of violence has decreased”.

The former reality TV star had spent weeks falsely claiming that the presidential election had been stolen from him and he was subsequently charged with inciting the riots.

“As of today, Donald J. Trump’s channel is no longer restricted from uploading new content,” YouTube said in a statement.

“We carefully assessed the ongoing risk of violence in the real world, while also weighing the opportunity for voters to hear equally from key national candidates in the run-up to an election.”

YouTube is the latest of several social media platforms to recover Mr Trump’s accounts after they were frozen in the wake of the riot.

Social networking giant Meta announced in January that it would reinstate Mr Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts with “new guard rails”.

His Twitter account, which has 87 million followers, was also suspended after the riot, requiring him to communicate via Truth Social, where he has fewer than five million followers.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed more than 400 lawsuits against Mr Trump, welcomed Meta’s decision.

“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,” Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement.

“Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts have become critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration.”

But advocacy groups like Media Matters for America vehemently oppose allowing Mr Trump to exploit the reach of the big tech giants’ social networks.

Mr Trump’s shock victory in 2016 was partially credited to his social media leverage and vast digital reach – but he has yet to post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter since being reinstated.

A US Congressional committee recommended in December that he be prosecuted for his role in the attack on the US Capitol.


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