YouTube removed a video uploaded to President Trump’s channel because it violated the site’s policy against inciting violence — and as a result, the platform suspended his ability to share content on YouTube for at least seven days.
“After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies. It now has its 1st strike & is temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a *minimum* of 7 days,” YouTube said in a statement.
The video side added, “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.”
YouTube didn’t provide any details of the video shared on Trump’s channel that violated its policy and led to the “first strike.” Among the six remaining videos uploaded to the channel Tuesday, five were clips from the far-right One America News (OAN) network with Trump’s comments delivered at an appearance in Alamo, Texas. Under YouTube’s “three strikes” guidelines, if a channel receives a second strike within 90 days it will be suspended for two weeks; a third strike results in a permanent ban.
Trump is facing impeachment proceedings in Congress over his role in organizing and supporting the insurrectionist mob that took over the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a deadly clash with police. On Tuesday, the president insisted he bore no responsibility for the attack, which led to the deaths of five people; Trump, speaking about his speech just before the coup attempt, falsely claimed that “everybody, to a T, thought it was totally appropriate.”
YouTube’s move comes after Twitter last Friday permanently banned Trump, citing the potential risk that the lame-duck president will foment additional violence among his supporters. Trump’s accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch and other platforms also have been indefinitely or permanently blocked.
Last Wednesday, YouTube removed Trump’s video addressed to rioters in Washington, D.C., in which the president told them to “go home” and said that “We love you, you’re very special,” while he also repeated false claims that the U.S. election was fraudulent. YouTube said that video was a violation of its ban on election misinformation. Facebook removed the video, citing concerns it would increase the risk of ongoing violence, and Twitter disabled the Trump post over violations of its Civic Integrity policy.
In the last few days, YouTube has come under increasing pressure for not banning Trump’s channel, which currently has nearly 2.8 million subscribers.
“Virtually every social media company has removed Trump…EXCEPT YouTube,” Sacha Baron Cohen, who has been vocal on the issue of internet platforms needing to crack down on hate speech, tweeted on Jan. 11. “Trump’s YouTube channel is STILL showing videos of his election lies to MILLIONS of people! Retweet and tell @Google , @sundarpichai , @YouTube , @SusanWojcicki — do the right thing!”
Meanwhile, the organizations behind the Stop Hate for Profit initiative, which led a broad advertiser boycott of Facebook last summer, are prepared to coordinate a similar ad boycott of YouTube if the video platform doesn’t ban Trump’s channel, Reuters reported Tuesday. The coalition’s founders include the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and Common Sense Media.