YouTube Restores Donald Trump’s Account Privileges
YouTube suspended former President Donald J. Trump’s account on the platform six days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The video platform said it was concerned that Mr. Trump’s lies about the 2020 election could lead to more real-world violence.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, reversed that decision on Friday, permitting Mr. Trump to once again upload videos to the popular site. The move came after similar decisions by Twitter and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
“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,” YouTube said on Twitter on Friday. Mr. Trump’s account will have to comply with the site’s content rules like any other account, YouTube added.
After false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen circulated online and helped stoke the Jan. 6 attack, social media giants suspended Mr. Trump’s account privileges. Two years later, the platforms have started to soften their content rules. Under Elon Musk’s ownership, Twitter has unwound many of its content moderation efforts. YouTube recently laid off members of its trust and safety team, leaving one person in charge of setting political misinformation policies.
Mr. Trump announced in November that he was seeking a second term as president, setting off deliberations at social media companies over whether to allow him back on their platforms. Days later, Mr. Musk polled Twitter users on whether he should reinstate Mr. Trump, and 52 percent of respondents said yes. Like YouTube, Meta said in January that it was important that people hear what political candidates are saying ahead of an election.
The former president’s reinstatement is one of the first significant content decisions that YouTube has taken under its new chief executive, Neal Mohan, who got the top job last month. YouTube also recently loosened its profanity rules so that creators who used swear words at the start of a video could still make money from the content.
YouTube’s announcement on Friday echoes a pattern of the company and its parent Google making polarizing content decisions after a competitor has already taken the same action. YouTube followed Meta and Twitter in suspending Mr. Trump after the Capitol attack, and in reversing the bans.
Since losing his bid for re-election in 2020, Mr. Trump has sought to make a success of his own social media service, Truth Social, which is known for its loose content moderation rules.
Mr. Trump on Friday posted on his Facebook page for the first time since his reinstatement. “I’M BACK!” Mr. Trump wrote, alongside a video in which he said, “Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business. Complicated.”
Despite his Twitter reinstatement, Mr. Trump has not returned to posting from that account.
In his last tweet, dated Jan. 8, 2021, he said he would not attend the coming inauguration, held at the Capitol.