YouTube removed a video of Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky for the second time on Tuesday and suspended it from publication for a week after posting a video denying the effectiveness of wearing masks in limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
A YouTube representative said the Republican senator’s allegations in the three-minute video violated the company’s guidelines on medical misinformation about Covid-19. Company policy bans videos that spread a variety of misinformation, including “claims that masks have no role in preventing the contraction or transmission of Covid-19”.
“We apply our guidelines consistently across the platform, regardless of speakers or political views, and we make exceptions for videos that have additional context, such as opposing views from local health authorities,” the representative said in a statement.
In the video, Mr. Paul says: “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent contagion. ”Later in the video, he adds,“ Trying to shape human behavior is not the same as following actual science that tells us cloth masks don’t work. ”
In fact, masks work on the almost unanimous recommendations of public health experts.
On Tuesday, Twitter suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican from Georgia, for seven days after she posted that the Food and Drug Administration should not give coronavirus vaccines full approval and that the vaccines “failed.”
On Twitter, Mr Paul called his suspension “a badge of honor” and accused “left wing idiots on YouTube” while linking to an alternate website to watch the video.
The senator said in a statement that private companies had the right to ban it, but YouTube’s decision was “a continuation of its commitment to act in step with the government”.
“I think this kind of censorship is very dangerous, incredibly against free speech and really against the advancement of science, which requires skepticism and reasoning to get to the truth,” he said.
Last week, YouTube removed an eight-minute Newsmax interview from its channel in which the senator said that wearing masks “has no value”. According to YouTube guidelines, the company issues a warning for the first violation, then the week-long ban is part of its “first strike” response for a second violation.
The warning will be removed from his account after 90 days if there are no more violations. A second strike within 90 days would result in a two-week freeze and the account would be permanently suspended after a third strike.