YouTube announced today that former President Donald Trump’s YouTube channel will no longer be suspended. The account had been restricted in the week after the January 2021 riot on the U.S. Capitol building. Following the lead of platforms like Twitter and Facebook, YouTube said at the time that Trump’s social media accounts could be used to incite further violence.
Now, as the former president gears up for his 2024 presidential run, YouTube has changed course.
“Starting today, the Donald J. Trump channel is no longer restricted and can upload new content,” YouTube wrote in a tweet. “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.”
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
The reinstated account has 2.64 million subscribers and over four thousand videos. YouTube’s decision could have further implications if Trump’s campaign is able to run advertisements on YouTube; in 2020, his campaign spent over $10 million on digital ads in key states.
In November, Twitter owner Elon Musk used a day-long poll to decide whether to reinstate Trump’s account. With 51.8% of users voting in favor, he replatformed the former president, who has not yet used his reinstated account. Facebook also reversed Trump’s ban — he has not posted there either, keeping true to his word.
Since losing his reelection campaign in 2020, the former president created his own media company, the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which advertises itself as “canceling cancel culture” and “standing up to big tech.” The company’s social media app, Truth Social, launched 13 months ago.
Trump’s ties with his own technology company could account for his silence on mainstream social media. Last year, a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding TMTG’s intention to go public via SPAC revealed that Trump has contractual obligations to Truth Social regarding his posts. When Trump posts a “truth” on Truth Social, he cannot repost it to any other social network for six hours.
TMTG has still not gone public.