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Twitter finally suspended Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the loudest sources of COVID misinformation in American politics—for a whole 12 hours.
The social media platform announced Monday that it had temporarily barred Greene from posting to her personal account for half a day, after she made several posts Sunday and Monday spreading lies about the COVID-19 vaccine. The ban comes after President Joe Biden, against whom Greene filed articles of impeachment earlier this year, criticized social media companies for allowing COVID-19 misinformation to run rampant.
Biden accused Facebook specifically of “killing people” last week, but on Monday walked the claim back and said he was referring to a recent report which found that nearly two-thirds of all disinformation about vaccines shared on Twitter or Facebook was linked to a dozen accounts, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The report, from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, also found that “platforms fail to act on 95 percent of the Covid and vaccine misinformation reported to them.”
Greene has long been a vocal opponent of masks, making her one of the most pro-COVID members of Congress. “Don’t let them force your kids to wear masks at school,” Greene said Saturday at a protest in California. “Don’t let your kids be forced to take a vaccine that’s not FDA-approved.”
Greene continued to spread lies about the virus and the vaccine using Twitter Sunday, tweeting that “The controversial #COVID19 vaccines should not be forced on our military for a virus that is not dangerous for non-obese people and those under 65.” The vaccines are only controversial because of the campaign people like Greene are waging to paint them as unsafe, and in recent months, an increasing number of young, healthy people—the group that’s least likely to be vaccinated—have become hospitalized or died from COVID-19.
Greene also falsely claimed that there have been “6,000 vax related deaths.” Greene and others, including Tucker Carlson, have cited the VAERS reporting system’s numbers to make the vaccines seem more dangerous than they are—even though adverse effects following vaccination are reported regardless of whether or not the vaccine had any impact.
The Biden administration has upped its criticism of social media companies in recent days. "Some of them 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," Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN 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.”
Twitter finally took action, kind of, on Monday. “We took enforcement action on the account @mtgreenee for violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically the Covid-19 misleading information policy,” a Twitter spokesman told the New York Times. It’s the second time this year that the platform has temporarily suspended Greene; in January, she was restricted from posting for 12 hours after spreading misinformation about the 2020 election.
“These Big Tech companies are doing the bidding of the Biden regime to restrict our voices and prevent the spread of any message that isn’t state-approved,” Greene said in a statement to the New York Times following her most recent suspension.
But while Greene is busy whining about her right to post lies on social media, the Delta variant of the virus she continues to downplay is ripping its way through low-vaccination areas. In Floyd County, where Greene resides, the share of residents who are fully vaccinated is just 38 percent; in the past two weeks, according to the New York Times, cases in Floyd County have skyrocketed more than 2,500 percent.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week that more than 97 percent of those currently hospitalized are not vaccinated, describing the emerging spike as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” And Murthy told CNN Sunday that more than 99 percent of all people dying from COVID right now are unvaccinated.
“I am worried about what is to come, because we are seeing increasing cases, among the unvaccinated in particular,” Murthy said. “And while, if you are vaccinated, you are very well protected against hospitalization and death, unfortunately, that is not true if you are not vaccinated.”