In the lead-up to the 2024 election, voters should be able to hear equally from candidates, according to the video streaming platform.
More than two years after his supporters violently stormed the US Capitol, YouTube has lifted restrictions on Donald Trump’s channel, making it the newest social media platform to fully restore the former US president’s account.
The choice was made on Friday as the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2024 election began to heat up with Trump, who has formally declared his candidature, frequently taking potshots 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. But Trump has not returned to these websites. Instead, he has been communicating with supporters through his own platform, Truth Social.
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.