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YouTube suspends Sen. Rand Paul over COVID-19 video disputing cloth masks

Sen. Rand Paul’s YouTube account was allegedly banned for seven days on Tuesday following a video in which the Kentucky Republican stated that cotton masks are ineffective against COVID-19.

‘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 a leading daily. ‘We apply our policies consistently across the platform, regardless of the speaker or political views and we make exceptions for videos that have additional context such as countervailing views from local health authorities.’

YouTube, Google’s online video and social media juggernaut located in San Bruno, California, flagged this phrase from Paul as breaching its standards: ‘Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent infection.’

The company further singled out this quote from Paul: ‘Trying to shape human behavior isn’t the same as following the actual science which tells us that cloth masks don’t work.’ YouTube could not be reached for comment right away.

According to the current guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research has shown that using cloth masks can help prevent infection and COVID-19 transmission. ‘Research supports that mask-wearing has no significant adverse health effects for wearers,’ the CDC’s guidance also says.

In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Paul reacted to YouTube’s actions by calling the move 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 added a link to an article that ultimately permits viewers to see the video on Rumble, a conservative-friendly alternative to YouTube. Paul has stated that he will continue to submit videos to Rumble since it provides for ‘uncensored news.’

Users who earn a second strike during the same 90-day period as the first strike are barred from posting material for two weeks, according to YouTube’s ‘Community Guidelines.’

A channel will be permanently deleted from YouTube if it receives three strikes in a 90-day period and the firm cautions that deleting the video ‘will not remove a strike.’

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Paul’s office said in a Tuesday news release that YouTube’s decision ‘is a huge disservice to the thousands of Kentuckians who visit his page for regular updates on the work he does for Kentucky in the Senate.’

‘I think this kind of censorship is very dangerous, incredibly anti-free speech and truly anti-progress of science, which involves skepticism and argumentation to arrive at the truth. As a libertarian-leaning senator, I think private companies have the right to ban me if they want to, so in this case I’ll just channel that frustration into ensuring the public knows YouTube is acting as an arm of government and censoring their users for contradicting the government, Paul said in the news release.


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