Last week, Senator Rand Paul was reportedly censored by YouTube following an interview with a Newsmax journalist, during which they discussed “a variety of topics, including the science behind masks.”
According to Senator Paul’s office, the video was removed by YouTube, with his account suspended from posting any new videos for seven days.
“Censorship by YouTube is very dangerous as it stifles debate and promotes groupthink where the ‘truth’ is defined by people with a political agenda,” Senator Paul stated in a video message which responded to YouTube’s alleged actions.
“YouTube said the video violated their policy because of my comments on masks, and that they don’t allow videos that contradict government’s guidance on COVID,” Senator Paul stated in the now-deleted response video.
During a press call earlier on Tuesday, Senator Paul condemned the apparent link between Big Tech corporations, such as YouTube, and the country’s legislature.
“I’m not sure when YouTube became an arm of the government, and I’m not really sure it’s good for journalism to also be an arm of the government without any repercussions or push back,” Senator Paul said.
While some conservative voices are calling for Big Tech to be reined in through various forms of legislative action, Senator Paul discussed an alternative approach.
“My hope is that maybe through competition we’ll prove them to be wrong in their ways,” he said.
Senator Paul also referenced the challenging intersection between the rights of private companies to censor content or ban users, and the pursuit of free speech.
“As a libertarian-leaning Senator, I think private companies have the right to ban me if they want to, but I think it is really anti-free speech, anti-progress of science, which involves skepticism and argumentation to arrive at the truth,” Senator Paul said. “We realize this in our court systems that both sides present facts on either side of a question and complete an adversarial process to reach the truth in each case.”
Senator Paul then moved to link this debate to the field of journalism.
“Journalism isn’t far from that and in some ways, the adversarial part of the courtroom is ideally what you would find in journalism, where both sides would present facts, there is a period of argumentation and people figure out the truth for themselves,” he said. “YouTube and Google though, have become an entity so huge that they think they are the arbitrator of truth.”
Senator Paul concluded by directly referencing the ongoing effort to “break up” Big Tech corporations.
“I will try to channel my anger, not in breaking these companies up but by publicly expressing my disagreement with them and publicly promoting other channels that offer free speech alternatives,” he said.