YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tells the World Economic Forum (WEF) that due to “concerns of violence,” we’ll have to “wait and see” about lifting the temporary suspension on former President Donald Trump’s YouTube channel.
Trump’s YouTube channel was suspended earlier this month following the storming of the Capitol on January 6.
When asked if YouTube would lift the temporary suspension on Trump’s account and when, Wojcicki told a WEF panel on Thursday:
“I think in light of the situation — there are so many concerns around violence — that’s something we’re just going to have to continue to wait and see how that evolves.”
On Thursday, Wojcicki went into great detail explaining the timeline and decision-making process that went into suspending Trump’s channel in the first place, which involved “accelerating” certain aspects of YouTube’s policies.
Here’s a brief rundown on events that transpired leading up to the suspension, and then you can check out Wojcicki’s full explanation of went went down in her own words:
- On December 9, YouTube changed one of its policies to include taking action against content “that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of any past U.S. presidential election.”
- When YouTube creates a new policy, first-time offenders are not supposed to be penalized with a strike (which results in suspension), but rather given warnings and grace periods as they adjust to the new policy.
- After the storming of the Capitol on January 6, YouTube “accelerated” its policy and quickly gave out strikes/suspensions.
- Trump uploaded at least one video to YouTube after January 6 in which he said the election was stolen, and YouTube gave him a strike, thus suspending his channel.
- Trump’s channel remains suspended due to “concerns of violence” and there is no set date for lifting the suspension or terminating the channel.
Below is Wojcicki’s full explanation (video and transcription) surrounding YouTube’s decision to suspend Trump’s channel.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on Trump Suspension
“YouTube, from the very beginning has had a system where we have a number of policies, and we have a strike system that goes with that.
“So, we issue strikes when there’s a policy violation. Depending upon the severity of the strike, it either leads to a short-term suspension or ultimately a termination of that account. And that applies to everyone, from small creators to heads of states.
“It’s not like special people get any kind of special exceptions; everybody is treated in the same and consistent way.
“We began removing all content that alleged that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was changed by false claims of widespread voter fraud or errors”
“On December 9, which is when the states certified the election, we began removing all content that alleged that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was changed by false claims of widespread voter fraud or errors.
“I believe we were the first platform to do that. That was a month before the Capitol attack that we started removing that content.
“We did so across a number of channels — a large number from a variety of different backgrounds — including some videos from the Donald J. Trump channel.
“Now, given this was a new policy, as we do with all of our policies, there is a grace period, because it’s a new policy.
“So, what we do is remove the videos — again to make sure that we’re preventing egregious real-world harm — but we also want to give the creators a bit of a warning. So, we remove it, but we don’t issue a strike.
“After the Capitol attack […] we started issuing strikes on all channels that uploaded content that violated that policy”
“After the Capitol attack, we accelerated that [policy], and we started issuing strikes on all channels that uploaded content that violated that policy — including the video that Donald Trump had uploaded that day. We removed that one.
“When he did upload additional videos, we issued a strike, and we suspended that account, and it remains suspended.”
“So, I would say we actually removed the videos a month before the Capitol attack, which is a time period that actually really mattered.
“We have a policy system. We enforce those policies. We enforce them consistently”
“And I would also say that different platforms are used differently. So, Twitter for example, may have had like 100 tweets a day from the president, whereas a lot of times our platform was used in a variety of different ways, which was that it might have had content uploaded from TV, CSPAN, other channels, and so there was actually a couple-day period after the Capitol attack where he [Trump] didn’t upload anything, but when he did, and it was a clear violation of our policies, we did issue a strike.
“And I do think it’s really important to do so in a principled way — not just say, ‘Hey, we’ve made a decision; we’re going to suspend it for whatever reason.’
“We have a policy system. We enforce those policies. We enforce them consistently.
“Again, regardless of who the person is, and whenever we see a violation, we do take action very quickly to make sure that we’re keeping our community safe.”
The former president’s YouTube channel is still currently suspended without a set date for being lifted or terminated at the time of publishing.
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