YouTube is alone among big social media services in keeping Trump’s account open

January 11, 2021, 9:37 PM UTC

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There’s one holdout to the quick succession of social media companies banning President Trump: YouTube.

Trump’s account on the video-streaming service remains available after Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat banned him following the Capitol riots.

On Trump’s account, visitors can find clips from Fox News in which he, Donald Trump Jr., and Lara Trump riled up supporters at the rally critics say incited the riot.

YouTube explained its decision to keep Trump’s account active by saying it has a three-strike policy, which permanently boots users who violate the service’s policies within 90 days. But Trump has not received any strikes within the last 90 days, the company said.

One strike earns users a one-week suspension while two strikes come with a three-week ban.

“Our three-strikes system clearly outlines the penalty for violating our policies, from temporary restrictions on uploading or livestreaming to account termination for channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period,” Alex Joseph, a YouTube spokesperson, said in an email to Fortune. “We consistently apply these regardless of who owns the channel.”

Last week, YouTube removed one of Trump’s videos in which he said he understood the motivations of the rioters—all false—about the presidential election results being rigged. He also called the rioters “special” and said, “we love you.” But that didn’t count as a strike because YouTube’s updated election misinformation policy on Dec. 9 came with a grace period, the company said. That grace period ended on Thursday, the day after YouTube removed Trump’s video.

Last week, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and video-streaming service Twitch and others banned Trump “indefinitely” for violating policies against inciting violence. The companies say that the threat for incitement is still too great to allow Trump to remain on their services.

In response, many Trump supporters have flocked to other social media sites that are more lax when it comes to policing posts, including conservative social media site Parler. But Parler has since been shut down after Google Play and Apple’s App Store dropped Parler’s app, saying that violent talk was endemic on the service, and after Amazon’s Web Services unit cut off hosting its data.

Last week, former Trump sidekick Steve Bannon earned his third and final strike on YouTube, leading to a permanent ban of his popular podcast War Room. Bannon had previously called for the heads of Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top epidemiologist, and FBI director Chris Wray, in addition to repeating unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Trump doesn’t use YouTube as often to speak directly to his followers like he did on Twitter and Facebook. His YouTube channel is mostly news clips from Fox News and C-SPAN, in which pro-Trump Republicans and White House spokespeople voice support for him.

But also on Trump’s YouTube page are some recent videos he recorded, including the speech in which he reiterates unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Additionally, the channel also includes videos from far-right news organization One America News Network, one of which claims to prove election fraud (it doesn’t).

On Monday, celebrities including actors Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Ruffalo called on YouTube to join other social media services and ban Trump.

“Virtually every social media company has removed Trump…EXCEPT YouTube,” Baron Cohen tweeted. “Trump’s YouTube channel is STILL showing videos of his election lies to MILLIONS of people!”

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