Former United States president Donald Trump on Friday wrote his first posts on his reinstated Facebook and YouTube accounts. The posts came more than two years after he was banned over the US Capitol insurrection. The Republican leader — who is running for president again — has been unable to post any content for his 34 million Facebook followers and 2.6 million YouTube subscribers.
Trump shared a 12-second video clip and said “I’M BACK,” The clip appeared to show him giving his victory speech after winning the 2016 election, as he exclaimed: “Sorry to keep you waiting — complicated business.” The social media platforms banned Donald Trump days after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, when a mob of his supporters seeking to halt the certification of his election defeat to Joe Biden stormed the US Capitol in Washington.
He was sanctioned for posting content that the platforms said incited unrest, with YouTube announcing his reinstatement on Friday, two months after Facebook said it was unlocking his account. The 76-year-old had spent weeks falsely claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him, and he was subsequently impeached for inciting the riot, as reported by AFP.
“Starting today, the Donald J. Trump channel is no longer restricted and can upload new content,” YouTube said in a statement, as quoted by the news agency AFP.
“We carefully evaluated the continued risk of real-world violence, while balancing the chance for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run up to an election.” Earlier in January, Social networking giant Meta reinstated Trump’s account on Facebook and Instagram with “new guardrails.”
The former US President’s Twitter account was also blocked following the riot. It has 87 million followers. After being banned from various social media platforms, he was left to communicate through Truth Social, where he has fewer than five million followers. In November 2023, Twitter CEO Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account. This move came days after he announced a fresh White House run, but he has yet to post.
Meta’s decision to reinstate Trump’s social media accounts was applauded by The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed more than 400 legal actions against him. “Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,” executive director Anthony Romero said in a statement, as quoted by AFP. “Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration.”
But advocacy groups such as Media Matters for America vehemently oppose allowing Trump to exploit the social networking reach of the Big Tech giants, AFP reported. Trump’s victory in 2016 was credited partly to his leverage of social media and enormous digital reach.