Video platform suspends Republican senator, in latest move against a public figure who has spread Covid disinformation
YouTube suspended Republican senator Rand Paul on Tuesday for seven days over a video claiming that masks are ineffective against Covid
It is the latest move against a prominent public figure who has spread disinformation about ways to protect against the virus or about the vaccines
developed to fight it.
“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. “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,” the spokesperson added.
In the removed video, Paul cast doubt on the effectiveness of masks, saying, “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent infection,” before adding, “Trying to shape human behavior isn’t the same as following the actual science, which tells us that cloth masks don’t work.”
Many public health experts have advised using masks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first recommended the public wear cloth masks in April 2020. More recently the CDC advised vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in Delta surge areas.
Last month Paul clashed with Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, during a heated discussion about the virus. At one point Fauci said, “Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly.”
Responding to the YouTube ban, the Republican senator said on Twitter: “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.”
Last week, YouTube removed a Newsmax interview with Paul in which he said that “there’s no value” in wearing masks.
Paul’s current strike will be lifted from his account after 90 days if there are no more violations. A second strike within the 90 days will result in a two-week suspension, followed by a permanent ban if his account accrues a third strike.
YouTube’s suspension of Paul’s account was issued a day after Twitter suspended Republican Senator Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account for one week for violating the platform’s Covid
-19 misinformation rules.