Anti-free speech Big Tech platform YouTube reinstated former President Donald Trump’s account after it banned him from the platform for over two years.
“‘Starting today, The Donald J. Trump channel is no longer restricted and the ability to upload new content is restored,’" YouTube's vice president of public policy Leslie Miller told Fox News Digital in a statement. “‘We carefully evaluated the continued risk of real-world violence, balancing that with the importance of preserving the opportunity for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run up to an election. This channel will continue to be subject to our policies, just like any other channel on YouTube.’"
Fox News noted that this would allow the former president to run ads for his 2024 presidential campaign.
But as MRC Free Speech America President Brent Bozell pointed out, YouTube’s statement left much to be desired. "Another social media company reverses its decision to silence a sitting president because they disagreed with his politics. No apology. No admission of their anti-free speech policies."
The long overdue reinstatement comes after YouTube joined numerous other platforms that banned the former president after the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Shortly after the ban, in March 2021, then YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki claimed the platform would reinstate Trump’s account once it “determine[d] that the risk of violence has decreased.”
YouTube claimed the reinstatement is intended to “preserv[e] the opportunity for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run up to an election,” but it remains to be seen whether or not the platform will continue to heavily censor Trump moving forward as the election begins to heat up.
YouTube removed over 300 ads from Trump’s reelection campaign during the summer of 2019 alone. Even while the president could not access his YouTube account, the platform repeatedly censored those who aired footage of Trump questioning the results of the 2020 election. This included news outlets reporting on Trump’s comments like The Hill and The Independent and footage analyzed by the infamous January 6 Committee.
Google, YouTube’s parent company, also has a checkered history of censoring political candidates. MRC Free Speech America researchers analyzed Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo search results for 12 Senate races and found that Google buried 10 of 12 Senate Republican Party candidates’ campaign websites while highlighting their opponent's campaign sites. Google search results also favored Democratic candidate Sen. Raphael Warnock in the Georgia run-off election.
Meta reinstated Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in February, and Twitter owner Elon Musk restored the former president’s account last November.
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