Google’s YouTube has blocked President Donald Trump’s official channel from uploading new content for at least a week, citing the potential for violence following the deadly Capitol siege.
In a video of remarks made to reporters that was uploaded to Trump’s YouTube channel Tuesday, the president said that impeaching him for inciting violence at the Capitol would be “very dangerous for the USA.” YouTube removed the video.
“After review, and 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,” the company tweeted late Tuesday.
YouTube will also indefinitely disable comments on Trump’s channel “given the ongoing concerns about violence,” the company said.
The suspension is the latest by one of the nation’s leading social media platforms which have removed nearly all of the president’s online megaphones that allowed him to directly reach Americans.
The move came as civil rights groups threatened a national boycott if YouTube does not remove the channel, which has 2.77 million subscribers.
“A minimum of seven days is an important and necessary first step by YouTube, and we hope they will make it permanent,” Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, said in a statement to USA TODAY.
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“While it is disappointing that it took a Trump-incited attack on our Capitol to get here, it appears that all the major platforms are finally beginning to step up and take this important issue seriously and that policymakers and the public are committed to holding them accountable, he said. “Our democratic norms and institutions, not to mention our kids’ future, depend on it.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the civil rights coalition Stop Hate for Profit demanded YouTube take down Trump’s verified YouTube channel, “which is giving Trump the opportunity to continue spreading false information that the U.S. election was stolen” or face a boycott.
“If YouTube does not agree with us and join the other platforms in banning Trump, we’re going to go to the advertisers next,” Steyer told USA TODAY.
The Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which aims to rid social media platforms of hate speech, white supremacy, misinformation and disinformation, led a boycott of Facebook over the summer following the death of George Floyd under the knee of a white police officer.
Some 1,100 advertisers stopped buying ads on Facebook and Instagram during the month of July, with a few advertisers pulling their spending through the end of the year.
YouTube says it issued a “strike” against Trump’s channel. With the first strike, Trump’s YouTube channel is temporarily prevented from uploading new videos or live streams for at least seven days.
If, in a 90-day period, the channel receives a second strike, it will receive a two-week suspension. A third strike results in the channel being permanently removed.
YouTube says it makes no exceptions for public figures and has previously removed videos from Trump’s channel for violating its policies.
“I am not sure what is more distressing, the fact that platforms like Facebook have waited four years to so-called ‘act’, now that Trump is almost out of office, or that YouTube has still failed to ban Trump,” Steyer said. “Either way you look at it, these platforms are far too often on the wrong side of history and now the time has come to regulate them.”
Trump had a harsh message of his own for tech companies Tuesday.
“I think that Big Tech is doing a horrible thing for our country and to our country, and I believe it’s going to be a catastrophic mistake for them. They’re dividing and divisive,” Trump told reporters.