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Marjorie Taylor Greene suspended from Facebook for 24 hours for covid-19 misinformation, one day after Twitter account suspension

The Georgia Republican has been widely accused of spreading misinformation about the coronavirus on social media

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) speaks during a news conference outside the Justice Department in Washington on July 27, 2021. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for The Washington Post)
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Facebook suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for one day for spreading misinformation about covid-19, a day after Twitter permanently suspended her personal account for repeatedly violating the company’s policy.

Facebook said Greene’s post “goes against our standards on misinformation that can cause physical harm” and barred her from posting or commenting for 24 hours. Greene included the Facebook post in her criticism of Monday’s punishment.

Greene recently published a tweet falsely suggesting “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths.” Included was a chart featuring data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which details self-reported post-vaccine health issues that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns do not imply causation.

The congresswoman, who has been repeatedly criticized for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic to her thousands of social media followers, lashed out at the two platforms in another forum.

“Who appointed Twitter and Facebook to be the authorities of information and misinformation,” she asked on Gettr, a conservative social media platform launched by Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. “When Big Tech decides what political speech of elected Members is accepted and what’s not then they are working against our government and against the interest of our people.”

Greene argued that her suspension is problematic because she represents more than 700,000 “US tax paying citizens.”

“I’m an elected Member of Congress representing over 700,000 US tax paying citizens and I represent their voices, values, defend their freedoms, and protect the Constitution,” the Republican lawmaker wrote.

In response to Greene’s tweets, Aaron Simpson, a spokesman for Meta, which owns Facebook, told The Washington Post, “A post violated our policies and we have removed it; but removing her account for this violation is beyond the scope of our policies.”

On Jan. 2, Twitter suspended the personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for violating the company’s covid-19 misinformation policies. (Video: Reuters)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) issued a statement claiming that opinions like Greene’s are under assault by major social media companies, which he says “have amassed more power and more control over more speech than any other institution in history.”

“Diversity of opinion is the lifeblood of our democracy,” McCarthy wrote. “And yet that fundamental American value is under assault by Big Tech. … Their recent decisions to silence Americans — including a sitting member of Congress and renowned physicians — who share views different from the political and media elite have real world costs.”

It was unclear what “renowned physicians” McCarthy was referring to. Health authorities have repeatedly emphasized that the vaccines, launched during the Trump administration, are safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that more than 496 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered between December 2020 and December 2021. In that period, VAERS received 10,688 reports of death among people who had received the shots — or 0.0022 percent — though the fatalities were not necessarily tied to immunization.

Greene’s verified personal account was temporarily suspended twice during the summer of 2021. In July, she falsely claimed that the coronavirus was “not dangerous for non-obese people and those under 65,” causing her to lose access for 12 hours. And in August, she was suspended for a week after falsely tweeting that the coronavirus vaccines were “failing.”

Congressional leaders in both parties condemned Greene last spring for comparing face-mask policies to the Nazi practice of requiring Jews to wear Star of David badges. She apologized but has continued to attack coronavirus policies, refuse to wear a mask on the House floor and share false information about the virus. She has amassed thousands of dollars in fines for violating the House policy on masks.

Brittany Shammas contributed to this report.