YouTube to lift Trump ban if violence threat falls, says CEO

By Cody Godwin
BBC News, San Francisco

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YouTube's chief executive has said the platform may lift Donald Trump's suspension, if the threat of "real-world violence" decreases.

Susan Wojcicki said the company will look at government warnings and violent rhetoric to determine when it's safe to lift the suspension.

Following the Capitol Hill riot on 6 January that left five dead, Mr Trump's account was suspended.

YouTube said he had violated their incitement of violence policy.

"It's pretty clear that right now where we stand, that there still is that elevated risk of violence," the YouTube chief said during an interview with the Atlantic Council on Thursday.

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Ms Wojcicki clarified that the former president's conduct had not led to a full ban on the platform.

The company operates under a three strike system and an account must receive all three strikes within 90 days to be permanently removed.

The suspension in January was Mr Trump's first strike.

Rudy Giuliani, the former personal attorney to Mr Tump, received his second strike earlier this week for claiming the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Typically, a first strike results in a seven day suspension of an account, but Mr Trump's has been prolonged due to a continued risk of violence.

After a large group of pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building on 6 January, the former president was de-platformed across many social media outlets.

Mr Trump was banned from Twitter and suspended from Facebook.

Facebook's Oversight Committee is currently looking at whether that suspension should be made permanent - however it's not yet clear when they will rule.

Criminal charges have been filed for a reported 221 people involved in the riot.

A way back for Trump on social media?

Donald Trump has been pretty quiet since leaving office. That's in part because his megaphone - social media - has been switched off.

It's fascinating to see how the major social media companies have dealt with Donald Trump.

All have faced the same problem. What do you do when a president peddles fake news and conspiracy theories - that led in part to the Capitol Hill riots?

They've all reacted in different ways. Twitter has outright banned Trump, there's no way back for him there.

On Facebook he is suspended, pending a decision by its "independent" oversight committee. Their decision will in theory be binding.

And now we know that YouTube will lift its suspension if the threat of violence decreases, though that's a subjective measure.

It means that there is a way back for Donald Trump on social media. And that will be vital if he wants to a have a tilt at the presidency in 2024.

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