The seven-day suspension from YouTube was an “important and necessary first step” that should become permanent, said Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit news media watchdog group. “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.”
Capitol Riot Fallout
In a separate action on Wednesday, Google said it would suspend political ads on its platforms until after Inauguration Day because of last week’s violent rampage at the Capitol.
In a letter to advertisers, the company said the move applied to any ads that referred to candidates, the election or its outcome, the upcoming presidential inauguration, the impeachment process, the Capitol riots, or planned protests about any of these subjects. The pause will take effect on Thursday and extend until at least Jan. 21.
Speaking at the Reuters Next conference on Wednesday, Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said that the company has made significant changes to how it handles political ads and election misinformation around the election, but acknowledged that more work was needed. “We are constantly learning through these moments, and the internet, as a whole, needs to come to terms with what kind of information can spread,” said Mr. Pichai. “Definitely, there’s more to do on our side.”
During his presidency, Mr. Trump has used YouTube differently from Twitter or Facebook. His YouTube channel is filled mostly with clips from speeches and rallies, as well as videos of supporters defending him on Fox News. The videos lack the punch of his minute-by-minute commentary on Twitter and Facebook.
YouTube’s suspension followed months of foot-dragging by the company. In the weeks after the Nov. 3 election, Mr. Trump’s channel was filled with videos showing him and his supporters challenging the outcome. YouTube refused to act on those videos even as critics called on it to do so, saying that questioning the election results was not a violation of its policies.
Last month, after most states certified their election results, YouTube said it would start removing videos that misleadingly said there had been widespread voting fraud or voting errors. But the company said it would not penalize channels for posting such content with suspensions until Jan. 21, after Inauguration Day. YouTube said it had removed thousands of videos spreading misinformation about the 2020 election.
Read More: YouTube Suspends Trump’s Channel for at Least 7 Days