A conspiracy theorist in Florida who gained recognition for falsely claiming that the state was underreporting COVID-19 deaths was banned from Twitter Monday.
Rebekah Jones was banned from the microblogging site for “platform manipulation.”
“Rebekah Jones was NOT ‘censored’ by Twitter for anything she posted. She was suspended because she broke a clear rule against buying followers (platform manipulation) and — all evidence points to this — hijacking the accounts of unsuspecting users to make them follow her,” said Christina Pushaw, Press Secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Rebekah Jones was NOT “censored” by Twitter for anything she posted. She was suspended because she broke a clear rule against buying followers (platform manipulation) and — all evidence points to this — hijacking the accounts of unsuspecting users to make them follow her. pic.twitter.com/ubRxmXZAxw
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) June 7, 2021
Before becoming DeSantis’ Press Secretary, Pushaw exposed Jones as a crackpot with a lengthy criminal history.
Jones was fired from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) for a “pattern of insubordination.” Her job at the agency was simply to upload COVID-19 case numbers to a public dashboard. But after her termination, she claimed that she was fired for refusing to falsify data on behalf of DeSantis’ office.
A self-styled “COVID-19 scientist” (she is not, in fact, a scientist), she gained major notoriety after authorities raided her home. She claimed it was political retribution. In reality, she allegedly “downloaded confidential information about 19,182 employees” of the FDOH, following a pattern of criminal behavior.
As Pushaw noted in her report on Jones, the former state government “has held three jobs in her field; all three have ended in her being terminated and criminally charged.”
But the political left made Jones out to be a martyr. When Jones started a GoFundMe for personal expenses, she raised tens of thousands of dollars.
Despite the fact that Jones has been throughly discredited, her followers have refused to acknowledge that she manufactured the non-scandal.
Now, they are claiming hypocrisy by DeSantis.
The governor recently signed a bill into law prohibiting Big Tech companies like Twitter from censoring political candidates or elected officials. That law imposes hefty fines against companies who move to stifle those in the political arena for expressing their opinions.
But Jones was not banned for expressing her opinions. She was banned for allegedly purchasing followers on the platform, a practice which has been banned since well before the recent uptick in politically-motivated speech censorship.
“Governor DeSantis supports every Floridian’s right to free speech. Even conspiracy grifters like Rebekah Jones have First Amendment rights, and their rights must be protected,” Pushaw told The Florida Capital Star Tuesday. “However, the ‘censoring speech’ argument doesn’t apply to this case, because Jones wasn’t suspended for posting left-wing conspiracy theories, COVID disinformation, or targeted harassment and defamation — although she did all that. Jones was suspended for spamming and platform manipulation, which includes clear cut TOS violations like buying followers and using multiple accounts.”
Continuing with her grift, Jones announced Monday night on Instagram that she plans to run for Congress in Florida’s First District, against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01). She claimed that because she is running for Congress, Twitter will be fined $250,000 every day she is not allowed on the platform.
Pushaw addressed that news, too.
“She is mistaken in her reading of the law, because $250k fines would be assessed for cases of deplatformed statewide candidates,” Pushaw said. “A congressional race isn’t statewide, so it would be a $25k daily fine. This is totally hypothetical because she doesn’t live in Florida and therefore cannot run; an Instagram post isn’t sufficient to formally establish oneself as a political candidate under the law.”
Further, Pushaw noted that Jones is no longer a resident of the state of Florida, and that she had previously set up a website to run for Congress in Maryland’s Sixth District, where she resides.
“It’s remarkable that Jones references the legislation on Big Tech censorship that Governor DeSantis recently signed in her campaign announcement, pointing out that Florida law (after it comes into force on July 1) requires Twitter to platform Florida political candidates or face fines,” Pushaw said. “Jones has repeatedly, falsely claimed that Gov. DeSantis is ‘silencing’ her, but now she wants to move back to the free state of Florida and take advantage of the new anti-censorship law that our governor just signed.”
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