Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene barred from Twitter over Covid claims

Latest suspension comes amid Biden criticism that social media companies are failing to curb misinformation

epa08987300 Republican Representative from Georgia Marjorie Taylor Greene (C) walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 04 February 2021. The House is set to vote on whether to strip Greene of her two committee assignments over her support of conspiracy theories and remarks embracing violence.  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Twitter briefly suspended Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's account for tweets that violated the social media company's Covid-19 misinformation policy.

Ms Greene was barred for 12 hours on Monday after posting that the coronavirus is not dangerous for non-obese people under 65 and that organisations should not force non-approved vaccines or masks. These tweets were labelled as “misleading” by the platform.

On her reinstated Twitter account on Tuesday morning, Ms Greene accused Twitter of violating her freedom of speech and likened the platform to surveillance-heavy China.

The suspension came as vaccination rates have plunged across the US amid widespread vaccine hesitancy, much of it driven by misinformation about the risks of being inoculated.

The US is using vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson under the Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorisation.

None of these vaccines have been fully approved but numerous studies have proven their efficacy.

US President Joe Biden has called on the social media companies to take action on vaccine misinformation.

Last week, he said companies like Facebook were “killing people”. He begged social media platforms to take action and pleaded with the American people not to believe everything they read. Mr Biden on Monday walked his comments back slightly, saying it is misinformation and not the platform itself killing people.

In a video statement on Facebook Live, Ms Greene accused the Biden administration of trying to control free speech.

The Republican gadfly, who in the past has pushed far-right QAnon conspiracy theories, has come under fire before for remarks on the pandemic.

In June, she apologised after comparing Covid-19 mask requirements and vaccinations to the Holocaust that killed six million Jews.

In January, Twitter locked Ms Greene's account after she sparred with a state election official over voter fraud allegations.

Fox News host Sean Hannity, whose network has been sceptical about Mr Biden’s vaccination push and warned of side effects from the shots, on Monday shocked many viewers when he said, “Enough people have died … I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”

Updated: July 20th 2021, 6:05 PM
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