At least seven elected officials were suspended and/or banned from either Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube while in office from May 10, 2021, through January 31, 2023. YouTube’s indefinite suspension of former President Donald Trump (R) is the only suspension that remains in place.
YouTube suspended Trump’s account following comments he made during a news conference on January 12, 2021. A YouTube spokesperson said, “After careful review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence [following the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol], we removed new content uploaded to the Donald J. Trump channel and issued a strike for violating our policies for inciting violence.”
Twitter lifted Trump’s permanent suspension on November 19, 2022. Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter on October 27, tweeted out a poll on November 18 asking whether to reinstate Trump’s account. The Twitter poll showed 51.8% voting yes and 48.2% voting no. Musk tweeted the following day, saying, “The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
Facebook announced it would lift Trump’s suspension on January 25, 2023. Facebook’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg wrote, “Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded, and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out. As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”
As of January 31, 2023, Trump has not yet posted new content to either Twitter or Facebook.
The only other American elected official to receive a permanent suspension on a social media platform while in office was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), whose personal Twitter account was permanently suspended on January 2, 2022, for violating the platform’s COVID-19 medical misinformation policy. Twitter reinstated her account on November 21, 2022. The company did not issue a statement on the decision.
Other elected officials who have received temporary suspensions on the platforms we track include Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.), and Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R).
All the suspended representatives we’ve tracked have been Republicans. The most common reason for a suspension was violating the platform’s COVID-19 medical misinformation policy at 6 suspensions, followed by potentially inciting violence at 4, and posting about alleged 2020 election fraud also at 4 suspensions.