Why Twitter has permanently blocked Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal account

Greene is a first-term US lawmaker who has repeatedly stirred controversy over support for racist views, unfounded QAnon pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theories and calls for violence against Democratic politicians

FP Staff January 03, 2022 15:31:43 IST
Why Twitter has permanently blocked Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal account

File image of Marjorie Taylor Greene. AP

On Sunday, Twitter banned the personal account of Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Greene isn’t the first – or even the highest profile – Republican whose account was permanently blocked. That distinction belongs to former President Donald Trump, whose Twitter account was banned in the aftermath of the 2021 attack on the US capitol.

But who is the far-right representative? And why has Twitter blocked her account? Let’s examine this further:

Controversy’s child

Greene is a first-term US lawmaker who has repeatedly stirred controversy over inflammatory commentary.

On social media, she has voiced support for racist views, unfounded QAnon pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theories such as the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and calls for violence against Democratic politicians including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Democratic-led House in February tossed her from her two committee assignments, the House Education and Labor Committee as well as the House Budget Committee.

But the firebrand has no shortage of critics, even in her own party. Last February, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, perhaps the largest figure in Republican politics not named Trump, called Greene’s embrace of conspiracy theories and “loony lies” a “cancer for the Republican Party.”  Ouch.

Why was Greene permanently banned?

Greene’s account was permanently taken down for multiple violations of Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation policy.

This comes in the backdrop of the White House’s top medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, saying the US has been seeing almost a “vertical increase” of new COVID-19 cases, now averaging 400,000 cases a day, with hospitalisations also up.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has driven a surge in new cases across the country.

The Georgia Republican’s account was permanently suspended under the “strike” system Twitter launched in March, which 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. Five or more strikes can get someone permanently removed from Twitter.

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 the former president by phone. She said she had received Trump’s 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 19 December when he said he had received a COVID-19 booster shot.

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.

In July, Twitter suspended Greene for a week after 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.

‘Twitter is an enemy to America’

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,” Greene said. “That’s fine, I’ll show America we don’t need them and it’s time to defeat our enemies.”

With inputs from AP

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