Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been suspended from YouTube for one week after he posted a video questioning the effectiveness of masks.
In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for YouTube said the company removed Paul’s video and suspended his account for one week “for including claims that masks are ineffective in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19, in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies.”
“This resulted in a first strike on the channel, which means it can’t upload content for a week, per our longstanding three strikes policy. We apply our policies consistently across the platform, regardless of speaker or political views, and we make exceptions for videos that have additional context such as countervailing views from local health authorities,” the spokesperson explained.
Paul fired back in a statement on Tuesday, “I think this kind of censorship is very dangerous, incredibly anti-free speech, and truly anti-progress of science, which involves skepticism and argumentation to arrive at the truth.”
He continued, “As a libertarian leaning Senator, I think private companies have the right to ban me if they want to, so in this case I’ll just channel that frustration into ensuring the public knows YouTube is acting as an arm of government and censoring their users for contradicting the government.”
The move came after Twitter removed an interview Paul posted with a journalist questioning the effectiveness of masks. After YouTube took down that video, the Kentucky senator posted a separate video blasting the company for taking down the first one.
His office said that YouTube took down that video too.
The Hill notes that if the senator’s account violates YouTube’s policies a second time within 90 days, he will receive a two-week suspension.
Paul recently urged people to defy COVID-19 mandates in a video posted to Twitter. He said, “They can’t arrest all of us. They can’t keep all of your kids home from school. They can’t keep every government building closed.”
He also claimed that “no one should follow the CDC’s anti-science mask mandates.”