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YouTube will lift Trump suspension when 'risk of violence has decreased,' CEO says

The Google-owned platform suspended Trump almost two months ago.


YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said Thursday that former President Donald Trump will eventually be allowed to post videos on the platform again, after being suspended for almost two months.

Trump was suspended from YouTube on Jan. 12, days after the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol, for breaking the company's rules on inciting violence. The punishment prohibits Trump from uploading videos and livestreams and disables comments on his videos. Since then, YouTube has extended the suspension twice.

On Thursday, Wojcicki said the suspension won't be permanent. "I do want to confirm that we will lift the suspension of the channel," she said during an event hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington, DC-based think tank. "We will lift the suspension of the Donald Trump channel, when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased."

She said that moment hasn't come, citing warnings on Wednesday from the Capitol police of another potential attack on Thursday. Some followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which baselessly contends that Satan-worshipping cannibals and pedophiles aimed to take down Trump, believe the former president would return to the White House on March 4. "It's pretty clear that that elevated violence risk still remains," Wojcicki said.

She said YouTube would make that judgement by considering several factors. That includes heeding government warnings, looking at increased law enforcement presence around the country and examining violent rhetoric on the platform.

Silicon Valley giants had sought to rein in Trump as the platforms reckoned with their role in the Capitol riots. Aside from YouTube's suspension, Twitter has permanently banned Trump, and Facebook has indefinitely blocked the president's account while its oversight board weighs the decision. Apple, Google and Amazon have also taken action against Parler, a social network popular with far-right and extremist users, which rioters used to help plan the attack. 

YouTube has a three-strikes policy when it comes to policing its platform. Three infractions within a 90-day period results in permanently being kicked off the platform. The first strike comes with at least a one-week ban from posting content. The second strike typically comes with a two-week ban.

When Trump's account is reinstated, he'll have one strike and be treated like any other user on the platform, Wojcicki said.