YouTube recently suspended Sen. Rand Paul, who is also a licensed physician, and Twitter suspended science writer Alex Berenson for “going against authoritative sources” after both posted comments based on the findings of scientific studies.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul received a seven-day suspension for “medical misinformation.”
“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,” said a YouTube spokesperson. “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.”
YouTube said that two statements by Paul resulted in the ban. They were: “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent infection”; and “Trying to shape human behavior isn’t the same as following the actual science, which tells us that cloth masks don’t work.”
Paul responded by tweeting, “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.”
He addressed the ban in a video on Rumble in which he said, “What I said in the video, that YouTube censored, is the truth. It’s fact.” Responding to the “YouTube science deniers,” he referenced two studies that showed cloth masks do not prevent infection, including a Vietnamese study that showed cloth masks allow for 97 percent penetration of particles the same size as the virus.
Paul added that he has always held that N95 masks do work and stated that Dr. Fauci knew that as well and lied to the public out of fear that healthcare workers would be unable to purchase them if the public bought N95 masks. Paul said that Fauci justified his lie by saying he was trying to shape human behavior.
Former Biden advisor Dr. Michael Osterholm said the same thing on CNN when he stated, “We know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement…” He added, “We need to talk about better masking. We need to talk about N-95 respirators.”
Meanwhile, Berenson, a former science writer for the New York Times who now publishes “Unreported Truths” on Substack, said in his tweet, “The pivotal clinical trial for the @pfizer #Covid vaccine shows it does nothing to reduce the overall risk of death. ZERO. 15 patients who received the vaccine died; 14 who received the placebo died. The end. The trial blind is broken now. This is all the data we will ever have.” He then included a link to the actual study.
In informing Berenson of his resulting suspension, Twitter explained that its policy requires “the removal of content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.”
Sen. Paul, a licensed physician and eye surgeon, did not say anything that others have not said before and he cited not one but two scientific studies to support his statement. Yet YouTube fact checkers (who are not physicians) felt it necessary to censor Paul for spreading dangerous “misinformation.” According to Paul, YouTube says that misinformation is anything that deviates from what the government says about COVID.
Those who justify Big Tech censorship claim that it’s their right to police content since Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others are private companies, but as can be seen in these two instances and others, they are now acting as a proxy for the government’s position on COVID and other topics and silencing the voices of anyone who dissents.
This has been happening throughout the pandemic. In August 2020, Dr. Peter McCullough posted a YouTube video on his personal channel citing the data and findings on effective early treatments for COVID that he and dozens of other authors had published in the prestigious and peer-reviewed Journal of American Medicine. YouTube advised him that the video had “violated” its policies and removed it, a fact that he noted during his later testimony before the Texas Senate Committee Health and Human Services. (The original video has since been reposted on another channel without incident).
Other doctors and researchers have also been censored. Whatever the goal behind this effort to stifle healthy debate, a key consequence is that it is adding to people’s overall distrust of the government and — potentially even worse — the medical field.
Sen. Paul is correct when he says that allowing Big Tech to squash scientific debate is actually the opposite of following the science and only endangers people. In this instance, Big Tech is picking and choosing who can speak and who cannot speak and that means they are no longer a content platform but a content publisher.
As such, Congress must act. They should either revoke Big Tech’s Section 230 protections so they can be held legally accountable just like any other publisher or, as constitutional expert Jonathan Turley is calling for, treat social media companies as communications utilities and, as with phone companies, bar them from intervening in or censoring any conversation or information carried on their platforms (unless presented with a warrant).
“We do not need companies to protect us from harmful or ‘misleading’ thoughts,” Turley states. “The solution to bad speech is more speech, not approved speech.”