Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has been suspended from YouTube for posting a video claiming masks are ineffective in fighting COVID-19.
The seven-day suspension marks the second time Paul has been penalized by YouTube, which last week removed video of a Newsmax interview from Paul’s channel. During the interview, the senator said, "there’s no value" in wearing masks.
"They are now banning all my speech, including speech that is given on the Senate floor, which is protected constitutional," Paul told reporters on Tuesday, Yahoo News reported. "YouTube now thinks they are smart enough and godly enough that they can oversee speech, even constitutionally protected speech."
Later, Paul tweeted: "A badge of honor ... leftwing cretins at Youtube banning me for 7 days for a video that quotes 2 peer-reviewed articles saying cloth masks don’t work. If you want to see the banned video go to Liberty Tree."
A YouTube spokesperson Tuesday said Paul's claims in the three-minute video had violated the company's policy on COVID-19 medical misinformation, The New York Times reported.
The platform's policy bans videos that spread a wide variety of misinformation, including "claims that masks do not play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of Covid-19."
"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 said in a statement.
In the video, Paul, an ophthalmologist, says "most of the masks you get over the counter don't work. They don't prevent infection." He also says, that "trying to shape human behavior isn’t the same as following the actual science, which tells us that cloth masks don’t work."
YouTube policy stipulates a warning for a first offense, then the weeklong suspension is part of its "first strike" response to a second offense.
The strike will be removed from his account after 90 days if there are no more violations. A second strike in the 90 days would result in a two-week suspension, and the account would be permanently banned after a third strike.
On Tuesday, Twitter suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., for a week following another violation of the social media platform's rules.
Greene tweeted Monday night that the Food and Drug Administration "should not approve the covid vaccines."
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