YouTube suspended Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky on Wednesday for violating the company’s rules regarding misinformation about COVID-19. Paul will be banned from posting videos to YouTube for one week as part of this suspension.
The offending video features the Republican senator shaming the effectiveness of masks to prevent the coronavirus. “Most masks that you can buy over-the-counter don’t work.” They can’t stop infection.” He says this in the three-minute clip. He adds that “trying to influence human behavior isn’t the same thing as following the actual science, which shows us that cloth masks do not work.”
YouTube, which is owned by Google confirmed the suspension. A spokeswoman for YouTube said that the suspension was due to content on Senator Paul’s channel, which included claims that masks were ineffective in stopping the transmission or contraction of COVID-19. “We apply our policies consistently across the platform, regardless of speaker or political views, and we make exceptions for videos that have additional context such as countervailing views from local health authorities.”
This suspension is necessary because COVID-19 cases have increased due to the highly contagious Delta variant. Some counties, including California’s home state, have reinstituted indoor mask mandates.
Paul was inflicted with his first strike under YouTube’s three-strikes policy. According to YouTube’s guidelines, a strike usually comes with a one week suspension that bans new content posting. A two-week suspension is given for a second strike that occurs within the 90-day period. A third strike will result in a permanent ban.
Paul described the suspension as a “badge” of honor in a tweet. He said, “Leftwing Youtube cretins ban me for 7 days because I posted a video that quoted 2 peer-reviewed articles that cloth masks don’t work.”
Paul’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.