Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr via CC BY-SA 2.0

On Sunday, Jan. 2, Twitter permanently suspended the personal account of Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene for violation of the site’s COVID misinformation policies. Over the course of the pandemic, Greene has repeatedly pushed dangerous conspiracies regarding the efficacy of vaccines and downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus on Twitter. As a private entity, the website has every right to, and should, crack down on this kind of rhetoric.

COVID-19 lies aren’t Greene’s first foray into far-right conspiracy theories. In 2017, Greene suggested that there were possible links between Hillary Clinton and a fictitious sex trafficking ring involving underage children and human sacrifice. Greene also supported the theory that Former President Barack Obama was secretly muslim, the government staged multiple mass-shootings, 9/11 was an inside job and that Jewish space lasers caused California wildfires in 2018. Greene was elected with a long history of supporting anti semitic, white supremacist and QAnon conspiracy theories.

Leading up to, and since her election to Congress in 2020, Greene has shifted most of her conspiracism to the pandemic. “Vaccines are failing and do not reduce the spread of the virus & neither do masks,” wrote the congresswoman last August. This is, of course, false and very dangerous. According to peer-reviewed data published on the CDC website, “COVID-19 vaccines can reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” Additionally, N95 masks can actually delay the spread of coronavirus by up to 100x in some cases. Cloth and surgical masks are less effective, but still delay spread significantly. As an elected official, Greene has a moral obligation to advocate for mask use — not reject it.

Leading up to her ban from Twitter, Congresswoman Greene was previously suspended four times for spreading misinformation on COVID that broke the site’s terms of service. Greene is only the latest elected Republican to face backlash for using Twitter to spread dangerous speech. Last year, President Trump was famously kicked off the platform for inciting the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol building. According to Twitter, Greene’s tweets broke the site’s COVID-19 misleading information policy. From Twitter: “Content that is demonstrably false or misleading and may lead to significant risk of harm (such as increased exposure to the virus, or adverse effects on public health systems) may not be shared on Twitter.” Dangerous medical misinformation shouldn’t be normalized, and Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend the Congresswoman was the right call.

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