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YouTube suspends Sen. Rand Paul over a video falsely claiming masks are ineffective

The suspension was “a badge of honor," Paul tweeted.
Image: Senator Rand Paul is trailed by reporters as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Senator Rand Paul is trailed by reporters as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

WASHINGTON — YouTube suspended Sen. Rand Paul's account on Tuesday for posting a video claiming cloth face masks are ineffective against the coronavirus.

“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,” Paul, R-Ky., tweeted.

Paul falsely claimed in the removed video, “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent infection," adding that “cloth masks don’t work."

A spokesperson for YouTube told NBC News that the video violated company policy on Covid-19 misinformation, which includes “claims that wearing a mask is dangerous or causes negative physical health effects” or that masks don't play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19.

"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," the 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."

Paul claimed in a separate post on the conservative website Liberty Tree, “I haven't lied. I haven't used expletives. I haven't spread misinformation. I have only told the truth about what our government seeks to do to us, curtailing our most basic liberties, using the COVID-19 pandemic as their excuse.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and countless public health experts, including epidemiologists, have said since the start of the pandemic that masks protect against the spread of Covid.

YouTube’s decision to suspend Paul comes after Twitter temporarily suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from posting on that platform after she falsely claimed that coronavirus vaccines are “failing.”

Public health experts have emphasized the effectiveness of the vaccines, saying they are protecting people against severe cases of Covid. While there are some breakthrough cases among people who are vaccinated, they generally have only mild to moderate symptoms of the disease.