Former U.S. President Donald Trump's Facebook and Youtube accounts were restored on Friday after they were banned for violating policy against inciting violence after his supporters stormed the US Capitol in January 2021.
"I'M BACK," Trump said, while sharing a 12-second video clip that showed him giving his victory speech after winning the 2016 election. "Sorry to keep you waiting -- complicated business," he could be seen as saying.
Trump posted the same clip on YouTube, which announced Friday that it, too, was welcoming him back. "Starting today, the Donald J. Trump channel is no longer restricted and can upload new content." "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," they wrote.
1/ Starting today, the Donald J. Trump channel is no longer restricted and can upload new content. 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.— YouTubeInsider (@YouTubeInsider) March 17, 2023
Twitter also reinstated Trump's account last year after Elon Musk took over the company, but the former president has thus far chosen not to tweet. Instead, he has been posting frequently on his own Truth Social site, which he launched after the suspensions.
Facebook parent Meta had said in January that it would be restoring Trump's personal account in the coming weeks, ending the suspension it imposed in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, when Trump's supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol in a bid to halt the peaceful transition of power.
His access was restored to Facebook and Instagram on February 9, the company confirmed. "The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box," Nick Clegg, Meta's vice president of global affairs, wrote at the time.
The company also said it would be adding "new guardrails" to ensure there are no "repeat offenders" who violate its rules, even if they are political candidates or world leaders. Facebook, the world's largest social media site, had been both a public tool and a crucial source of fundraising revenue for both of Trump's previous campaigns.
(With inputs from AP)