- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2021

YouTube banned President Trump’s video posts for the remainder of his presidency, effectively completing the Big Tech blockade of social media.

The latest move by the Google-owned video platform all but cut off Mr. Trump’s ability to use social media to communicate directly with the American people for the final week of his term in the White House.

YouTube’s block of Mr. Trump will last at least seven days but could extend far longer as an extension of the feud between Google and the Trump administration.

YouTube’s no-Trump policy follows similar moves by Twitter, which permanently suspended the president, and Facebook and Instagram, which locked the president’s accounts last week.

YouTube placed a strike against Mr. Trump’s account, with future strikes carrying penalties of longer suspensions and possibly shutting down the channel altogether.

“After careful review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to the Donald J. Trump channel and issued a strike for violating our policies for inciting violence,” a YouTube representative said in a statement. “As a result, in accordance with our long-standing strikes system, the channel is now prevented from uploading new videos or livestreams for a minimum of seven days — which may be extended.”

SEE ALSO: Big Tech break-up push picks up bipartisan steam amid conservative crackdown

Users will not be able to comment underneath videos still appearing on the president’s YouTube channel for an indefinite period, the representative said.

The action against Mr. Trump comes after the Trump administration took several steps that threatened Google’s business model. The Justice Department, alongside 11 states, brought a major antitrust lawsuit in October 2020 against Google, particularly focused on its search engine. Then in December, the Federal Trade Commission ordered YouTube — with eight other companies — to hand over the data it collects and stores from its users.

Google, however, has styled its latest crackdown on content as an aggressive response to prevent people who use its services from causing harm.

In the aftermath of the violence at the Capitol last week, YouTube removed a video message from Mr. Trump telling his supporters to “go home” and calling them “very special.” Mr. Trump also reiterated his claim that Democrats “stole” the November election.

Google then removed the social media app Parler, which had become a refuge for pro-Trump content, from its Google Play Store. Google said it observed ongoing posting seeking to incite violence.

On Wednesday, Google told advertisers that it was enacting a political ad ban that would last through Inauguration Day. The ad ban begins Thursday and prevents ads “referencing candidates, the election, its outcome, the upcoming presidential inauguration, the ongoing presidential impeachment process, violence at the U.S. Capitol, or future planned protests on these topics,” Google said in a letter to advertisers.

There is no sign the social media companies will stop the crackdown anytime soon. It could even expand.

The Twitter account of a group called Students for Trump’s, @TrumpStudents, was prevented from posting on Wednesday, according to Ryan Fournier, co-chair of the student-led organization.

Mr. Fournier tweeted that the account was locked without any warning or notice of a violation.
Twitter told The Washington Times that its action against @TrumpStudents was an error.
“We use a combination of technology and human review to surface harmful content proactively on the service,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “In this case, the account you referenced was flagged by our automated systems in error. This has been reversed, and access to the account has been reinstated.”

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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