Rand Paul YouTube account suspended after mask misinformation

A YouTube spokesperson said that the platform policies are consistent across the board, “regardless of speaker or political views.”

WASHINGTON — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been suspended from his YouTube account for a week after he published a video that contained misinformation about wearing masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the company confirmed to multiple media outlets.

“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,” a YouTube spokesperson told CNN.

The spokesperson added that the platform policies are consistent across the board, “regardless of speaker or political views.”

YouTube’s COVID medical misinformation policy, published back in May 2020, says that it doesn’t allow content that spreads misinformation that “contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19.”

The New York Times reports that Paul false claimed, “most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent infection” in the video. Later in the video he claimed again that cloth masks don’t work.

However, masks do work, according to health officials and scientists. The World Health Organization’s policy says that fabric, non-medical masks can be used by the general public under the age of 60 and who do not have underlying health conditions.

Sen. Paul responded to the suspension on Twitter, calling it 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,” he wrote.

This isn’t the first time Paul has been outspoken about the coronavirus pandemic. The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in July had a spat with Paul during testimony on Capitol Hill. Paul suggested that Fauci had lied before Congress when in May he denied that the National Institutes of Health funded so-called “gain of function” research — the practice of enhancing a virus in a lab to study its potential impact in the real world — at a Wuhan virology lab. U.S. intelligence agencies are currently exploring theories that an accidental leak from that lab could have led to the global pandemic.

“I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed,” Fauci told Paul before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, saying a study the senator mentioned referenced a different sort of virus entirely from the one responsible for the coronavirus outbreak.

“Senator Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci said. “And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you’re talking about.”

Paul’s suspension comes on the same day that Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account was suspended for a week, according to CNN. A Twitter spokesperson told NBC that her tweet was “was labeled in line with our COVID-19 misleading information policy.”

New York Times said she tweeted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should not fully approve COVID vaccines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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