Sen. Rand Paul has been suspended from YouTube.
The Kentucky Republican also was forced to remove a video that YouTube said broke its rules against what it deems medical misinformation.
The one-week suspension began Monday over a video in which Mr. Paul said that “cloth masks don’t work” and most over-the-counter masks “don’t prevent infection,” YouTube told reporters.
Mr. Paul took to Twitter to call the suspension “a badge of honor.”
He characterized the suspension as “leftwing cretins at Youtube banning me for 7 days for a video that quotes 2 peer reviewed articles saying cloth masks don’t work.”
In a further statement Tuesday, Mr. Paul noted that censorship is itself anti-scientific.
“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 said.
YouTube said the video violated its medical misinformation policies.
“We removed content from Senator Paul’s channel 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,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Under that policy, a second strike within 90 days would result in a 14-day ban, while three strikes in the 90-day period would yield a user’s channel being permanently removed.
Mr. Paul’s YouTube account is still up and the content visible to users, but he can’t post any new content while under suspension.
According to YouTube, there were two examples of content in Mr. Paul’s video that violated its rules. They include the comment, “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent infection” and the sentence, “Trying to shape human behavior isn’t the same as following the actual science which tells us that cloth masks don’t work.”
Mr. Paul shared the banned video on Rumble, a video platform that is looking to dethrone the Google-owned YouTube.
The offending video was the most-viewed video on Mr. Paul’s Rumble account as of Wednesday morning, with more than 295,000 views. No other video on Mr. Paul’s Rumble channel displayed more than 90,000 views.