On Tuesday evening, YouTube suspended President Donald Trump’s channel for a minimum of seven days. In its statement, the Google-owned platform explained that it took down content from the channel, which had violated its policies, and then assigned a first strike against the account. The penalty for such a violation: no new uploads or live streams for at least a week, starting on Jan. 12.
In explaining its action, YouTube said it had done so “in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence.” YouTube also emphasized that the suspension was for a “*minimum*” of seven days, at which time it would review the account again. Moreover, YouTube disabled comments throughout the channel, stating, “Given the ongoing concerns about violence, we will also be indefinitely disabling comments on President Trump’s channel, as we’ve done to other channels where there are safety concerns found in the comments section” (via Twitter).
YouTube’s suspension of Donald Trump’s channel, which has around 2.8 million subscribers, is the latest in moves made by social-media and tech companies to silence the president’s megaphone, which has been blamed for the seditious actions of his most fervent supporters. The president is facing impeachment charges for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol siege, with Congress issuing one article of impeachment: “incitement of insurrection” (per The New York Times).
Trump taken offline amid FBI warnings of more "armed protests" across the nation
According to The Washington Post, the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment in regards to President Trump’s YouTube suspension. Earlier in the day, the president had made his first remarks to reporters following the Capitol riots, showing no contrition and claiming that his “Save America” speech was “totally appropriate,” and that any anger from the nation since was due to Congress’ efforts to impeach him for a second time (via the Times).
As the Times points out, Trump’s use of YouTube was different from that of Twitter and Facebook, given that it didn’t allow for him to post in real-time. Still, the clips shared helped to spread false claims and negative rhetoric, meant only to further fuel his base. Per The Associated Press, the content of the video that was taken down was not immediately known, but it was later confirmed by the Times to be of the president’s Tuesday morning remarks.
Trump’s YouTube suspension also follows a warning by the FBI of more “armed protests” and unrest in the days leading up to Inauguration Day (per NPR). The FBI bulletin read, “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.” Through these temporary suspensions — and in the case of Twitter and Amazon, permanent bans — social media and big tech are finally doing what they can to try and dent the numbers of such groups and at the very least, no longer provide them with their “core organizing infrastructure.”
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