The Twitter account for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), a far right congresswoman who often pushes conspiratorial and false claims, was suspended on Monday evening by the company for containing misinformation about the coronavirus.
“We took enforcement action on the account @mtgreenee for violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically the Covid-19 misleading information policy,” a company spokesperson said regarding Greene’s suspension.
Greene will be suspended for 12 hours from the platform. She will be able to use her account later on Tuesday.
Twitter labeled two tweets that Greene authored on Sunday and Monday as “misleading.” The company announced in March that it was implementing a “strike system” for dealing with misinformation. A user can be suspended for 12 hours after two or three “strikes,” and can have a weeklong suspension after a fourth strike. A fifth strike results in a total ban from Twitter.
Earlier this year, Greene was also suspended by Twitter over her false claims about the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. The company had deemed her tweets as promoting ideas that created “a risk for violence.”
An official speaking to NBC News about Greene said she has accrued “multiple” strikes as of this week.
Using her Facebook account to comment on her suspension on Twitter, Greene wrongly claimed that her free speech rights were under “attack.” However, First Amendment speech protections do not apply to the actions that private companies can take against individuals.
Greene’s tweets contained errant claims, including the false notion that the virus is only dangerous for people with certain health conditions or people of certain ages. She also falsely said that the coronavirus vaccines have resulted in thousands of people dying — a patently false claim that has been debunked many times over.
The Georgia congresswoman’s suspension comes days after President Joe Biden took a critical tone with social media companies, mainly Facebook, for allowing misinformation to spread online, adding that inaction by the social media company in addressing the problem was “killing people.”
“We’re dealing with a life or death issue here, and so everybody has a role to play in making sure there’s accurate information,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week. “[Facebook is a] private sector company. They’re going to make decisions about additional steps they can take. It’s clear there are more that can be taken.”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has also called on social media companies to take more proactive measures to stop the spread of misinformation on vaccines and the coronavirus.
Social media sites “have worked to try to, you know, up promote accurate sources like the CDC and other medical sources. Others have tried to reduce the prevalence of false sources and search results,” Murthy recognized while speaking to CNN on Sunday. “But what I’ve also said to them, publicly and privately, is that it’s not enough. That we are still seeing a proliferation of misinformation online. And we know that health misinformation harms people’s health. It costs them their lives.”
As troubling misinformation continues online and the country has largely reopened with fewer or no restrictions being enforced in many places, the number of new coronavirus cases being reported in the past two weeks has increased by 198 percent. The number of deaths from COVID-19 in that time has also increased, by 75 percent. Current available data suggests that greater than 99 percent of people who are dying from the virus are those who have not been vaccinated.