Video streaming platform says the decision aims to allow voters to hear equally from candidates in the run-up to the 2024 vote.
YouTube has lifted restrictions on Donald Trump’s channel, becoming the latest social media network to fully restore the former United States president’s account more than two years after his supporters violently stormed the US Capitol.
The decision on Friday comes as the race for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election starts to heat up with Trump, who has officially announced his candidacy, regularly taking shots at potential rivals.
“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, which is owned by Google, said in a tweet on Friday.
After a right-wing mob attacked the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory, several social media networks restricted or banned Trump’s accounts.
The president’s critics accuse him of inciting the violence, including via social media posts where he made false accusations of election fraud.
In recent months, social media firms — including Twitter and Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram — have restored the former president’s accounts. Trump has hesitated to return to these sites, preferring to communicate with his supporters on Truth Social, his own platform.
However, on Friday, the former president heralded his return to Facebook with his first post since the January 6 attack: “I’M BACK!” The post included a video for his 2024 presidential campaign.
As president, Trump’s social media posts — especially on Twitter — constantly stirred controversy, and at times caused international diplomatic crises.
Twitter “permanently suspended” Trump’s account after the January 6 riot, but the platform reversed the decision after it was acquired by billionaire Elon Musk.
“I am staying on Truth. I like it better, I like the way it works, I like Elon, but I’m staying on Truth,” he told Fox News last year.
The former president still maintains that the 2020 election was “stolen” – a claim that he regularly repeats on Truth Social.
In December, a Democratic-led congressional panel that investigated the attack on the Capitol recommended criminal charges against the former president.
A special Justice Department prosecutor is investigating Trump for his role in the riot and possible mishandling of classified information in a separate investigation.
As he gears up for the 2024 primaries, Trump is also facing several state-led inquiries into his campaign conduct, efforts to overturn the 2024 elections and private business practices.
Trump denies wrongdoing in all cases and accuses prosecutors of weaponising the justice system against him for political purposes.
“THE FAKE INVESTIGATIONS BY RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS ARE NOTHING OTHER THAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE INTO THE POLITICS OF A FAILING NATION,” he wrote on Truth Social on Thursday.
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