USA TODAY International Edition

Twitter suspends Rep. Greene over tweets it calls misleading

- Terry Collins Contributi­ng: Maureen Groppe and Ella Lee

Twitter said it had suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for 12 hours, and she accused the company of censorship when she returned.

The social media platform suspended Greene, R- Ga., about 9 p. m. EDT Monday for violating its policy after she posted two misleading tweets about COVID- 19.

Greene returned to Twitter shortly after 9 a. m. EDT Tuesday and criticized the platform, saying it censored her and violated “my freedom of speech.” She compared Twitter to “Communist China.”

Greene’s tweets Sunday and Monday said the coronaviru­s wasn’t dangerous for people under age 65 and those who are not obese, and said vaccines should not be required.

“We took enforcemen­t action on the account @ mtgreenee for violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically the COVID- 19 misleading informatio­n policy,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement.

According to Twitter, Greene’s 12hour ban was her second strike for repeatedly sharing misinforma­tion about the virus to her nearly 426,000 followers. Greene will get a similar 12hour ban if she gets a third strike. The platform will suspend her for seven days if she gets a fourth strike. Greene could be banned from Twitter if she gets a fifth strike.

Greene’s tweets still appear on her Twitter account but with a “misleading” tag.

Greene’s tweets come as COVID- 19 cases across the U. S. continue to climb, with the delta variant now accounting for more than half of the nation’s new infections. Last week, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data determined that all 50 states reported more COVID- 19 cases in the most recent seven- day period than in the week before – a 70% spike.

A little less than half of the U. S. population, 48.4%, is fully vaccinated, and a little more than half, 55.9%, has had at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier, President Joe Biden criticized social media platforms, saying they should do a better job of fighting the spread of vaccine misinforma­tion on their sites. Biden was hoping to have 70% of American adults at least halfvaccin­ated by July 4, but the U. S. failed to meet his administra­tion’s goal.

The president softened his criticism of Facebook, days after he stirred controvers­y and said the world’s largest social network is “killing people” because of vaccine misinforma­tion the tech giant allows to circulate on its platform.

“Facebook isn’t killing people,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question Monday. “These 12 people who are out there giving misinforma­tion – anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it.”

In March, Twitter said it was taking a tougher stance on pandemic misinforma­tion for repeated violations of its policy, including a 12- hour suspension. This included a brief suspension of Greene’s account in April, but Twitter later said that it was a mistake due to an automated error.

Twitter said it has “challenged 11.7 million accounts, suspended 1,496 accounts, and removed more than 43,010 pieces of content worldwide.”

 ?? JACQUELYN MARTIN/ AP ?? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene criticized Twitter for censorship after her access was reinstated.
JACQUELYN MARTIN/ AP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene criticized Twitter for censorship after her access was reinstated.

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