Donald Trump returns to Facebook and YouTube after social media ban lifted
- ‘Sorry to keep you waiting – complicated business,’ Trump, 76, said alongside a video clip on the social media platforms
- Facebook and YouTube banned Trump days after the January 6 Capitol insurrection that followed his election defeat to Joe Biden in 2021
“I’M BACK,” Trump posted on the sites weeks after his personal accounts were reactivated. He also shared an old video clip in which he said: “Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business.”
The 76-year-old 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.
The platforms banned 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.
The former reality television star had spent weeks falsely claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him, and he was subsequently impeached for inciting the riot.
“Starting today, the Donald J Trump channel is no longer restricted and can upload new content,” YouTube said in a statement.
“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.”
New Twitter owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump last November, days after he announced a fresh White House run, but he has yet to post.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed more than 400 legal actions against Trump, applauded Meta’s decision.
“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.
“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.
Trump’s shock victory in 2016 was credited in part to his leverage of social media and his enormous digital reach.
A US congressional committee recommended in December that he be prosecuted for his role in the US Capitol assault.
The social media news came as Trump announced he will be holding the first rally of his 2024 campaign later this month in Waco, Texas.
The rally will be held the evening of March 25 in a Republican state where he has a large following, increasing the chances of a packed house.
Trump spent the first months of his campaign mostly confined to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, but has begun to make visits to early-voting states. On Monday, he took his first trip to Iowa, which will hold the Republican Party’s first nominating contest.
Meanwhile, police in New York are making security preparations for the possibility that Trump could be indicted in the coming weeks and appear in a Manhattan courtroom in an investigation examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him, officials said on Friday.
There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work, including any potential vote on whether to indict the former president.
The police officials, who were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke to Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said authorities are just preparing in case of an indictment. They described the conversations as preliminary and are considering security, planning and the practicalities of a potential court appearance by a former president.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office and Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, had no comment.