YouTube became the latest tech platform to reinstate former president Donald Trump’s account on Friday.
“Starting today, the Donald J. Trump channel is no longer restricted and can upload new content,” the official YouTubeInsider accounted tweeted. “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.”
YouTube also added a warning for the former president: “This channel will continue to be subject to our policies, just like any other channel on YouTube.”
The last post on the channel was a video of Trump in the White House posted on Dec. 2, 2020, in which he delivers what he said “may be the most important speech I ever made,” and provided what he described as an update on efforts to “expose the tremendous voter fraud and irregularities which took place during the ridiculously long November elections.”
Although in the video Trump said “lots of bad things happened” in the election, more than 60 lawsuits brought by his campaign failed to expose any significant issues that would have reversed the results. The U.S. attorney general and federal security officials also said the vote was secure and there was no measureable fraud that would have impacted the outcome.
Trump was knocked off most social media platforms after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that aimed to prevent Joe Biden from being certified as the winner of the 2020 election. But several of his accounts have been restored in recent months.
Elon Musk reinstated the previously go-to @realDonaldTrump account on Twitter in November after polling users to ask if he should return. But the 45th president has not yet tweeted – his last post, from Jan. 8, 2021, remains, “To all those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Meta Platform’s Facebook brought Trump back in January. But he also hasn’t touched that site, leaving an even more ominous post as his last: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Trump has instead continued to rely on his own Truth Social to share statements and criticize the Biden administration and would-be opponents like Florida governor Ron DeSantis. He started the platform in February 2022 and reportedly has a contract that requires it be used first for any social posts he shares.
But Truth Social has never gained the sort of traction the more mainstream sites have. It has about 2 million users, while the YouTube account restored on Friday alone has more than 2.6 million subscribers.
The Truth numbers are dwarfed by the 87.4 million Twitter users still following his account there and the 34 million followers he retains on his Facebook account.
And politics doesn’t appear to drive more users to Truth Social: traffic plummeted 29% during the height of last year’s midterm election campaign.
Journalists and others, however, frequently share screen shots of Trump’s posts on his platform on the more popular sites. The site is also under investigation by federal officials for possible money laundering linked to Russia, reports revealed this week.
Trump announced his third run for the White House in November.