(Reuters) -Alphabet Inc-owned YouTube said on Friday it lifted restrictions on former U.S. President Donald Trump’s channel, following a more than two-year suspension after the deadly Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump now has access to key vehicles for political fundraising and the ability to reach his combined 146 million followers across three major tech platforms as he makes another run for the presidency in 2024.
“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 said in a tweet, referring to the move.
Meta Platforms Inc had reinstated Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts earlier this year, while his Twitter account was restored in November by new owner Elon Musk.
Trump’s campaign team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The video streaming platform banned Trump in 2021 for violating its policy of inciting violence after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol when Congress began to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
Trump is regaining access to social media accounts that he used throughout his 2016 campaign and presidency to lash out at rivals and build his base of followers just as the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is considering criminal charges, which Trump and his allies are arguing without evidence are politically motivated.
The former president has yet to post on the Meta-owned platforms or Twitter. Instead he has stuck to Truth Social, the platform he founded in late 2021, where he has nearly 5 million followers.
Opponents of Trump’s return point to his messages on Truth Social as evidence that he still poses the same risk that led various social media platforms to suspend him before.
Trump also faces a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit brought by New York state, alleging a decade-long scheme to manipulate more than 200 asset valuations and Trump’s net worth, to win better terms from banks and insurers. Trump has called the suit a witch hunt.
On Friday, some users rushed to the comments section on Trump’s last YouTube video, which was posted two years ago.
“Wanted to be the first to welcome you back. Let’s do this!” one user commented.
(Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and David Gregorio)