Twitter suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal account on Sunday, after she was accused of violating its terms. Covid-19 misinformation policies.
Twitter suspended Ms. Greene’s account after she tweeted on Saturday, falsely, about “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths.” She included a misleading chart that pulled information from a government database of unverified raw data called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, a decades-old system that relies on self-reported cases from patients and health care providers.
Twitter said that Ms. Greene had a fifth “strike,” which meant that her account will not be restored. The company had issued her a fourth strike in August after she falsely posted that the vaccines were “failing.” Ms. Greene was given a third strike less than a month before that when she had tweeted that Covid-19 was not dangerous and that vaccines should not be mandated.
Ms. Greene’s official Congressional account, @RepMTG, remains active because tweets from that account did not violate the service’s rules.
“We’ve been clear that, per our strike system for this policy, we will permanently suspend accounts for repeated violations of the policy,” Katie Rosborough, a Twitter spokeswoman, said in a statement. Accounts can appeal to the company and the suspension could be reversed if the violating post proves to be true.
On the alternative social messaging platform Telegram, Ms. Greene said that Twitter “is an enemy to America and can’t handle the truth.”
Her suspension comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States has increased from the highly infectious Omicron variant. Officials in New York announced Saturday that the state had over 85,000 coronavirus-related cases on Saturday, marking the highest number of coronavirus cases since the outbreak.
Twitter has been banning users from sharing misinformation that could cause harm. In rare cases, the company has permanently banned high-profile accounts, including the account of former President Donald J. Trump, over a risk of “further incitement of violence” after a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol last Jan. 6.
There is currently no evidence that the coronavirus vaccinations have any major side effects. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could trigger a rare blood clotting disorder now linked to dozens of cases and at least nine deaths in the United States in the past year. The agency recommended that you use other approved vaccines.
The VAERS database is managed by both the Food and Drug Administration and C.D.C. and has been cited in many coronavirus falsities to promote the idea that side effect from Covid-19 vaccines are underreported.
F.D.A. spokeswoman declined to comment, but pointed to an overview of the VAERS database on the F.D.A.’s website that said VAERS reports “generally cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness.”
Twitter will launch March 12. introduced a policyThat explained the penalties for lying about the virus and vaccines. People who break this policy face severe penalties known as strikes. If they share misinformation about a virus, they could be banned permanently.
Ms. Greene won the primary election for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District in August 2020, after rising to prominence by posting unabashed support for President Trump and for QAnon, a movement tied to the baseless conspiracy theory that a group of global liberal elites run a child sex ring that Mr. Trump would stop.
The Coronavirus Pandemic – Key Facts to Know
The global surge. The coronavirus is spreading faster than ever at the start of 2022, but the last days of 2021 brought the encouraging news that the Omicron variant produces less severe illness than earlier waves. Therefore, governments are focusing more attention on expanding vaccinations than limiting spread.
Ms. Greene repeatedly posted the QAnon slogan on Facebook and Twitter and had previously called “Q” — the anonymous online account that set off the QAnon conspiracy movement — a “patriot” who was “worth listening to.” Last year, Ms. Greene heavily promoted the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Mr. Trump, tweeting in January that there was “MASS voter fraud on a scale that should terrify every American regardless of political party.”
But it was Ms. Greene’s false proclamations about the coronavirus, including opposing vaccines and masks as tools to curb the pandemic, that finally got her suspended from Twitter. Ms. Greene claimed that Covid-19 is not dangerous for people unless they are overweight or over 65 and that vaccines should not be required.
In August, Ms. Greene said on Twitter, “The F.D.A. should not approve the covid vaccines.” She said that there were too many reports of infection and the spread of the coronavirus among vaccinated people, and that the vaccines were “failing” and “do not reduce the spread of the virus & neither do masks.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current guidance states, “Covid-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death.”
Imran Ahmed, chief executive of Center for Countering Digital Hate published research on the twelve most prominent social media influencers spreading misinformation regarding vaccines. Ms. Greene said that it was appropriate to portray her suspension in the context of a series of moves by Twitter to censor conservatives.
“In fact, it is for the banal reason that she’s a superspreader of lies” that Ms. Greene was suspended, Mr. Ahmed said.
He also criticized Twitter’s inability to do more to suspend high-profile accounts that post misinformation. “While the suspension of Representative Greene’s account for propagating deadly disinformation appears to be a valid enforcement of stated rules, it is the piecemeal enforcement that lends itself to being perceived as political,” Mr. Ahmed said.
Source: NY Times