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Facebook and YouTube Let Trump Return

Donald Trump did get some good news this weekend. Both YouTube and Facebook are letting him back on their platforms. He grabbed the opportunity and made posts to both saying: "I'm back." What he will do with the boutique social network he owns remains to be seen. He could keep it and post to all three, of course. Given that he is likely to be indicted in Manhattan this week, he will need all the publicity he can get to rile up his base, so the timing here is good for him. His Twitter account was reinstated in November by Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, but he hasn't used that one yet. Still, he now is back where he was before being banned, with the addition of his own social media network

YouTube defended allowing Trump back in by stating: "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." How YouTube (which is owned by Google) could estimate the chance of a Trump video on the platform leading to violence is beyond us. Has Google written a simulator for Trump's base and tested it by feeding it various videos calling for violence? Or maybe Google just asked ChatGPT for advice.

In case you have forgotten the history, YouTube suspended Trump's account a few days after the Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt. It also blocked comments on Trump's videos. Commenting has also been restored. With everything now back to pre-coup status, Trump will now be able to post videos and also buy ads on YouTube. The same is true on Facebook. These are his main tools for reaching his base and he will no doubt use them heavily during his campaign. Undoubtedly, the fact that they will reap millions in revenue by bringing Trump back never even crossed the minds of the deciders at Facebook and YouTube. Nope, not for a moment. (V)

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