Twitter temporarily locked newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene out of her personal account on Sunday afternoon after the QAnon follower sent out a slew of tweets that pushed election disinformation and incited supporters of President Donald Trump to “mobilize” and “make your voices heard.”
The Georgia Republican, who has a history of using her account to tweet incendiary rhetoric, “has been temporarily locked out for multiple violations of our civic integrity policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told HuffPost. According to the platform’s policy, the penalty for Green’s violations is to be locked out of her account for 12 hours, though further violations could extend that period to a week, or even result in the account being permanently suspended.
In a now-deleted tweet sent Saturday night, Greene said she encourages “all Americans, not just the 75 million people who voted for President Trump, to mobilize and make your voices heard in opposition to these attacks on our liberties.” The tweet was part of a thread in which she claimed without evidence that Democrats and the Biden administration “are looking for any reason to implement Communist Chinese-style spying and censorship on the American people.”
The tweet inciting Trump supporters came the night before the nation was bracing for potential armed demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and at all 50 state capitols, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. While small groups of right-wing protesters gathered outside heavily guarded statehouses, there were no reports of violence as of Sunday evening.
On Sunday morning, the 12-hour lock-out appeared to be triggered after Greene tweeted a long, conspiracy-filled thread disparaging Georgia’s voting systems manager and secretary of state — two Republicans — for declaring Biden the winner of the state’s presidential election, and Democrats the winners of both of the state’s Senate runoff races.
Some of the tweets in Greene’s thread now have Twitter labels saying that “this claim about election fraud is disputed” and cannot be replied to, retweeted or liked “due to a risk of violence.”
Greene issued a statement in response to the account suspension, complaining about free speech ― despite the fact that getting locked out of a private social media company for inciting violence does not violate free speech ― and lying about elections using the same rhetoric that contributed to unrest.
“Congress must act, and act swiftly, to protect free speech in America,” Greene said. “Conservative Americans shouldn’t be afraid to speak their mind. They shouldn’t have to fear being cancelled by American corporations where they work, do business, and use services. They shouldn’t be scared into submission by Socialists who want to end their way of life.”
Greene’s suspension comes as Twitter continues its efforts to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform after Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 to try and harm lawmakers and overturn the election. The violence left five people dead. The House impeached Trump last week ― for the second time in his presidency ― for inciting the insurrection, and Twitter banned him from the platform on Jan. 8
“I believe this was the right decision for Twitter” to ban the president, CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted last week. “We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.
“That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” he continued. “While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us.”
On Jan. 11, Twitter announced that it had also suspended more than 70,000 accounts for promoting QAnon — a movement of unsupported, far-right conspiracy theories that the FBI considers a potential domestic terrorism threat — which helped fuel the insurrection, and which Greene amplified as early as 2017.
Greene faced backlash last year in response to reports tying her to an anti-government militia leader and to a longtime member of a white power movement. In June, Politico reported on her history of racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic rhetoric, which led high-ranking House Republicans to denounce her and her association with the party.