Marjorie Taylor Greene, the right-wing congresswoman famous for her support of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, Covid-19, and other issues, has been temporarily suspended from Facebook hours after being banned permanently from Twitter.
The congresswoman confirmed her suspension in a Telegram post, calling the company’s decision “beyond censorship of speech”.
Her suspension appeared to result from the same post that got her a final, fifth strike from Twitter which led to her account’s deactivation: A post claiming that vaccine injury and death reports gathered by a reporting service operated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proved that the government was ignoring large numbers of deaths resulting from the Covid-19 vaccine.
In reality, the data used by the congresswoman in her post contained anecdotal reports unverified by the FDA; clinical trials have shown the vaccine can have mild side effects, and a handful of serious side effects that are much rarer.
Ms Greene originally posted a message on both platforms pointing to a large number of reports of injury or death among Covid-19 vaccine recipients as evidence that the federal government was ignoring “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths”.
The data, though anecdotal and not verified by any government agency, has nevertheless become a favourite among anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists attempting to assert that the jabs are more dangerous than doctors and federal public health experts say.
The congresswoman’s Twitter post was far from her first spreading misinformation related to Covid-19, and she received at least two temporary suspensions last year for the same issue. She was also penalised by the company in January of 2021 for spreading false claims about the 2020 election.
“We permanently suspended the account you referenced (@mtgreenee) for repeated violations of our Covid-19 misinformation policy. We’ve been clear that, per our strike system for this policy, we will permanently suspend accounts for repeated violations of the policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Independent on Sunday.
Ms Greene retains access to Twitter through the account for her congressional office, @RepMTG, which is largely operated by staff. The account banned on Sunday was a personal Twitter account operated by Ms Greene herself. Twitter could end up taking similar steps by issuing strikes and eventually banning Ms Greene’s congressional Twitter account if she were to continue her spread of misinformation via that account.
The congresswoman responded to news of her ban on Telegram yesterday as well; the platform is quickly becoming a favourite of right-wing Americans.
“[Rep] Maxine Waters can go to the streets and threaten violence on Twitter, [Vice President] Kamala [Harris] and [Rep] Ilhan [Omar] can bail out Black Lives Matter terrorists on Twitter, CNN and the rest of the Democrat Propaganda Media can spread Russia collusion lies, and just yesterday the Chief spokesman for terrorist IRGC can tweet mourning Soleimani, but I get suspended for tweeting VAERS statistics,” she said on Sunday.
The comments of Ms Greene and other anti-vaccine Republicans has led to a deep divide in the Trump-controlled GOP, wherein former President Donald Trump and other party leaders have encouraged supporters to take the jabs while more right-wing members of the House have spread a variety of falsehoods about the shots in an attempt to cast doubt on their safety and efficacy.
Just a few days before Ms Greene’s Twitter ban, a Twitter account run by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee engaged in a similar attempt to trash the vaccines championed by Mr Trump as part of his “Operation Warp Speed” initiative.
The divide over vaccine acceptance has now become one of the most significant schisms in the GOP at both the statewide and national level as some Republican governors such as Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Larry Hogan of Maryland have wholeheartedly embraced the shots while others, such as Florida’s Ron DeSantis, continue to resist the idea of even promoting their effectiveness against Covid-19.