YouTube removed new content from US President Donald Trump’s channel, citing concerns about the potential of violence following the riot at the US Capitol last week.
Trump’s channel now has its first strike against it, barring it from uploading new content for at least seven days, YouTube said in a tweet, without providing details on the offending videos. The popular streaming site — owned by Google — also said it’s indefinitely disabling comments on the channel due to safety considerations. Other social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, have already taken steps to suspend the departing president, permanently in the case of Twitter and until the inauguration of Joe Biden for Facebook and Instagram.
Online platforms have struggled to strike a balance between a growing backlash against their sites in the wake of the violence last week — which many deemed to have been incited and organised through social media posts — and opposing criticism from free-speech advocates about imposing censorship. Twitter most recently banned over 70 000 accounts it deemed dedicated to distributed QAnon conspiracy theories, while Facebook said it’s blocking the “stop the steal” refrain used by those who argue the November 2020 presidential election was illegitimate.
YouTube had been more hesitant to suspend Trump’s account than other social media services, citing a three-strikes policy for policing content. The first strike restricts new uploads for at least a week, while a second strike within 90 days of the first would cause a two-week suspension. With a third strike, Trump’s channel would be deleted.
Following YouTube’s announcement, Gab, a less restrictive social networking site popular with the far right, said it’s working to back up Trump’s videos and will post them on its own platform. — Reported by Shiyin Chen, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP