Twitter suspends Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for 12 hours over COVID tweets

ATLANTA (AP) — Twitter has given US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene a 12-hour timeout, saying some of her tweets violated the social media site’s policy against misinformation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter suspended the Republican congresswoman from Georgia late Monday after US President Joe Biden urged tech companies to take stronger action against bogus claims about vaccines 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.

Greene appears to have been disciplined under the “strike” system Twitter launched in March, using a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify content about the coronavirus that is 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.

“We took enforcement action on the account @mtgreenee for violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically the Covid-19 misleading information policy,” the company said in an email.

One of Greene’s latest tweets that Twitter labeled misleading claimed that the virus “is not dangerous for non-obese people and those under 65.” According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people under 65 account for nearly 250,000 of the US deaths involving COVID-19.

US cases of COVID-19 last week increased by 17,000 nationwide over a 14-day period for the first time since late fall, and an increase in death historically follows a spike in illness. Much of the worsening problem is being driven by the Delta variant first identified in India, which has since hit the United Kingdom and other countries, said US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Calls to the congresswoman’s offices in Washington and in her north Georgia district reached messages saying her mailboxes are full and can’t accept new messages.

Greene has repeatedly compared COVID restrictions to those placed on Jews in Nazi Germany, despite heavy criticism and pushback from Jewish groups and criticism from many of her colleagues.

In May, Greene compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mask mandate on the House floor to “a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star. And they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.”

She doubled down on the analogy several days later, telling NBC that: “Any rational Jewish person didn’t like what happened in Nazi Germany, and any rational Jewish person doesn’t like what’s happening with overbearing mask mandates and overbearing vaccine policies.”

In June, Green toured the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and issued a partial apology for her statements. But earlier this month, she repeated such comparisons, referring to vaccine outreach efforts as “medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations.”

Times of Israel staff and JTA contributed to this report.

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