Google-owned YouTube suspended Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence – the latest sanction by the social media giant against the US president.
Online platforms and social media companies are distancing themselves from, and taking action against, those who encouraged or engaged in last week’s deadly violence on the US Capitol by the president’s supporters.
“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.
The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a minimum of 7 days”, it said.
The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.
The homepage of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting election process that logged some 5.8 million views. The free channel itself has 2.77 million subscribers.
Supporters of Trump stormed the US Capitol on January 6, trying to halt the certification by Congress of President-elect Joe Biden’s election win.
Trump, who has challenged the validity of Biden’s victory without producing evidence, initially praised his supporters but later condemned the violence.
Politicians were forced to flee as the building was mobbed by protesters who overwhelmed security forces. Five people died in the violence, including one Capitol Police officer.
After the incident, Twitter and Facebook removed Trump’s accounts and have been eliminating content supporting the assault, while Amazon.com suspended Parler – a social media platform favoured by many supporters of Trump – from its web-hosting service.
‘Stop the steal’
Facebook said on Monday it is taking similar precautions leading up to the inauguration of Biden as president on January 20. In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violence and was concerned he would continue to do so.
Content containing the phrase “stop the steal” will be removed from Facebook and Instagram, according to executives Monika Bickert and Guy Rosen.
Facebook is also keeping in place a pause on all ads in the United States about politics or elections, meaning no adverts from politicians including Trump.
Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favourite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.
The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.
Trump was also hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.
A #StopHateForProfit campaign demanded on Tuesday that YouTube take down Trump’s verified channel because it is giving the president the opportunity “to continue spreading false information” about the validity of the election.
“If YouTube does not agree with us and join the other platforms in banning Trump, we’re going to go to the advertisers next,” said Common Sense Media chief executive Jim Steyer, an organiser of the campaign.