Twitter Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene for Posting Coronavirus Misinformation
SAN FRANCISCO – Twitter said on Monday it was suspending Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from her service for 12 hours after posting messages that violated its policy against sharing misleading information about the coronavirus.
Georgia Republican Ms Greene has been a vocal opponent of vaccines and masks as tools to curb the pandemic. In tweets on Sunday and Monday, she argued that Covid-19 was not dangerous for people unless they were obese or over the age of 65, and said vaccines should not be required .
But coronavirus cases are on the rise, and the highly contagious Delta variant accounts for more than half of new infections in the United States, federal health officials said this month. In Ms Greene’s home state of Georgia, new cases have increased 193% in the past two weeks.
Twitter said Ms Greene’s tweets were misinformation and excluded her from the service until Tuesday. “We have taken enforcement action on the account @mtgreenee for violations of Twitter’s rules, in particular Covid-19’s misleading information policy, ”a Twitter spokesperson said. The company also added labels to Ms Greene’s vaccine articles, calling them “misleading” and stating information about the safety of inoculations.
In a statement, Ms. Greene said Silicon Valley companies were working with the White House to attack free speech. “These big tech companies are auctioning off the Biden regime to restrict our voices and prevent the spread of any message that is not approved by the state,” she said.
Twitter took action after President Biden called on social media companies to do more to combat the spread of vaccine misinformation on their platforms. Mr Biden said on Friday that sites like Facebook are ‘killing people’ by allowing disinformation to flourish unchallenged, adding: ‘Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that – and they kill people.
His statement ended weeks of frustration in the White House over the spread of disinformation online, which led to reluctance to be vaccinated, according to health officials.
Facebook, which has taken the brunt of the criticism, argued Mr. Biden’s statement was unfounded. “The Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of US social media companies,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, said in a blog post on Saturday. “The point is, the acceptance of vaccines among Facebook users in the United States has increased.”
On Monday, the president softened his criticism, saying that particular users were responsible for the spread of disinformation rather than Facebook. The company should do more to tackle the “outrageous misinformation” that is spreading on its platform rather than seeing what it says as a personal insult, Biden added.
Twitter has long banned users from sharing misinformation about the coronavirus that could cause harm. In March, the company introduced a policy which explained the penalties for sharing lies about the virus and vaccines.
“We have observed the emergence of persistent conspiracy theories, scaremongering rhetoric without foundation in research or in credible reports, and a wide range of unsubstantiated rumors, which are not contextualized, can prevent the public from making decisions. informed about their health and put individuals, families and communities at risk, ”the company said in its Politics against sharing disinformation about Covid.
People who violate this policy face increasing penalties called strikes and could face a permanent ban if they repeatedly share false information about the virus. A 12-hour ban, like the one Ms. Greene is facing, is Twitter’s response to users who have two or three warnings. After four warnings, Twitter suspends users for seven days, and after five warnings, Twitter bans the user entirely.
Other Republicans who have been suspended from Twitter have complained that the social media company is censoring them.
In January, Twitter banned President Donald J. Trump after the company determined that his social media posts played a role in inciting violence during the riot on the United States Capitol. Mr Trump argued that Twitter and Facebook, which also suspended his account, were censoring him and said companies needed government oversight.
Ms Greene was previously suspended from Twitter in April, but the company said it was an error caused by one of its automated spam and abuse detection systems.
“Everyone knows this is a LIE, and it was not a mistake,” Ms Greene tweeted after her suspension was lifted.
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