Twitter said on Sunday it had banned the personal account of far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for multiple violations of the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy — the latest strike against the firebrand whose embrace of conspiracy theories has been called “a cancer” for the Republican Party and led the House to boot her from committees.
The Georgia Republican’s account was permanently suspended under the “strike” system launched by Twitter in March. It uses artificial intelligence to identify posts about the coronavirus that are misleading enough to cause harm to people. Two or three strikes earn a 12-hour account lock, four strikes prompt a weeklong suspension and five or more strikes can get someone permanently removed from Twitter.
In a statement on the messaging app Telegram, Greene blasted Twitter’s move as un-American. She wrote that her account was suspended after tweeting statistics from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a government database that includes unverified raw data.
“Twitter is an enemy to America and can’t handle the truth,” the Republican from Georgia said. “That’s fine, I’ll show America we don’t need them and it’s time to defeat our enemies.”
Twitter had previously suspended Greene’s personal account for periods ranging from 12 hours to a full week. The ban applies to Greene’s personal account, @mtgreenee, but does not affect her official Twitter account, @RepMTG.
Criticism from both parties
The first-term congresswoman has repeatedly stirred controversy over inflammatory commentary.
On social media, she has voiced support for racist views, unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories — such as the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump — and calls for violence against Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.
Last February, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called her embrace of conspiracy theories and “loony lies” a “cancer for the Republican Party.” The Democratic-led House that same month tossed her from her two committee assignments: the education and labour committee and the budget committee.
In July, Twitter suspended Greene for a week after U.S. President Joe Biden urged tech companies to take stronger action against bogus vaccine claims that are “killing people.”
Twitter has defended its efforts to keep dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 off its site, saying it has removed thousands of tweets and challenged millions of accounts worldwide.
Among Greene’s final tweets was one Saturday that falsely referenced “extremely high amounts of covid vaccine deaths,” according to tweets stored in the Internet Archive.
Last week, Greene also boasted on Twitter about talking to former president Trump by phone. She said she had received his permission to clarify his stance that he is against vaccine mandates, though he encourages people to get the vaccine and booster. Trump was booed by some audience members in Dallas on Dec. 19 when he said he had received a COVID-19 booster shot.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top medical adviser, said on Sunday that the U.S. has been seeing almost a “vertical increase” of new COVID-19 cases, now averaging 400,000 a day, with hospitalizations also up. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has driven a surge in new cases across the U.S.