YouTube has been the slowest of the big social media platforms to react to the threat of letting president Trump continue to use its platform as a megaphone to whip up insurrection in the wake of the attack on the US capital last week. But it’s now applied a temporary upload ban. In a short Twitter thread today, the Google-owned service said it had removed new content uploaded to Trump’s YouTube channel “in light of concerns about the potential ongoing violence”.
It also said it’d applied the first strike — triggering a temporary upload ban for at least seven days.
At the time of writing, the verified Donald J Trump YouTube channel has some 2.78M subscribers.
“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 adds.
We reached out to YouTube with questions about the removed content and how it will determine whether to extend the ban on Trump’s ability to post to its platform beyond seven days. A spokeswoman confirmed content uploaded to the channel on January 12 had been taken down for violating its policies on inciting violence. The forum said it was perceiving an increased risk of violence in light of recent events and due to earlier remarks by Trump.
She did not confirm the specific content of the video that triggered the takedown and strike.
According to YouTube, the platform is applying its standard ‘three strikes’ policy — whereby, within 90 days, if a channel receives three strikes, it gets permanently suspended. Under this policy, a first strike earns around a week’s suspension, a second strike earns around two weeks, and a third strike triggers a termination of the channel. At the time of writing, Trump’s official YouTube channel has a series of recent uploads — including five clips from a speech he gave at the Mexican border wall. He lauded the “successful” completion of the pledge during the 2016 election campaign to ‘build the wall’. In one of these videos, entitled “President Trump addresses the events of last week”, Trump characterizes supporters who attacked the US capital as a “mob” — and claims his administration “believes in the rule of law, not in violence or rioting” — before segueing into a series of rambling comments about the pandemic and vaccine development.