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What just happened? Donald Trump's ban from mainstream social media is over after YouTube lifted its restrictions on his account two years after he was suspended. The former president's return to YouTube means Trump is once again welcome on the major platforms that banned him in the wake of the Capitol riots.
The announcement was made by YouTube's vice president of public policy, Leslie Miller, who told Axios that beginning March 17, the Donald J. Trump channel would "no longer restricted and the ability to upload new content is restored."
"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," Miller said. "This channel will continue to be subject to our policies, just like any other channel on YouTube."
Trump's channel was suspended by YouTube on January 12, 2021, in response to the US Capitol attack that took place on January 6. The Google-owned company waited a few days longer to implement its ban than Meta and Twitter, which handed down their own bans over fears of a risk to public safety and the incitement of further violence.
YouTube's suspension was initially set for a minimum of seven days for policy violations, but that was extended to "indefinitely."
Both Facebook and Instagram allowed Trump back onto their platforms in January, a week after his campaign urged them to let him return ahead of his 2024 Presidential election bid. It's likely that this action influenced YouTube's decision to also allow Trump back onto the site.
Reinstate former President Trump— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
Elon Musk reinstated Trump's Twitter account in November after he tweeted a poll asking his followers if Trump should be allowed back – 51.8% said yes, though Musk claims the poll was attacked by bots.
Just how much Trump posts new content on YouTube remains to be seen. He still hasn't posted to the @realDonaldTrump since his Twitter account was reinstated, saying he has "no reason" to because he is staying on Truth Social, the platform created by Trump Media & Technology Group.
Gizmodo writes that Trump could return to posting on mainstream social media once his exclusivity contract with Truth Social comes to an end, reportedly this June, allowing him to gain more exposure for his 2024 Presidential run.