'I'M BACK': Trump posts on Facebook for first time since 2021

YouTube also announces that it has lifted restrictions on former US president's account

Former US president Donald Trump posted the message 'I'M BACK' on Facebook, his first since post his account was reinstated. Reuters
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Former president Donald Trump posted on Facebook for the first time since 2021, more than two years since he was banned following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

“I'M BACK,” Mr Trump wrote in all caps.

The caption was attached to a 12-second clip that showed Mr Trump giving a victory speech after winning the 2016 presidential election.

“Sorry to keep you waiting — complicated business,” he says in the video.

Earlier, YouTube had announced that it lifted restrictions on Mr Trump's account.

“We carefully evaluated the continued risk of real-world violence, balancing that with the importance of preserving the opportunity for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run-up to an election,” Leslie Miller, YouTube’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement.

“This channel will continue to be subject to our policies, just like any other channel on YouTube.”

YouTube and Facebook were among a number of tech companies that banned Mr Trump from their platforms after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in 2021 to block the transfer of power after he lost the 2020 election.

Mr Trump, accused of inciting the riot, had already been using mainstream platforms as a megaphone to engage his followers and at times, spread misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic and the US presidential elections.

This year he embarked on a campaign to win the presidency in the 2024 election.

YouTube had prevented Mr Trump from uploading new videos after his account aired his first address to reporters following the insurrection.

In the video, Mr Trump said the speech he had made at a rally before his supporters rioted was “totally appropriate” and that the moves by Congress to impeach him were “causing tremendous anger.”

But in recent months, the social media services have removed the restrictions and said they would instead watch Mr Trump’s account activity more closely. Meta said Mr Trump would be subject to “heightened penalties for repeat offences” on Facebook.

Twitter, under new chief executive Elon Musk, reversed Mr Trump’s ban completely after conducting a poll of users.

YouTube, for its part, said it had always intended to lift its restrictions when it determined the risk of real-world violence related to Mr Trump’s account had been reduced. The company said it constantly monitors emerging issues and violent rhetoric across platforms and government security alerts.

Bloomberg contributed to this report

Updated: March 17, 2023, 10:46 PM