State Watch

Rebekah Jones’s Twitter account suspended, DeSantis cheers

The Twitter account belonging to former Florida Department of Health data scientist Rebekah Jones was suspended on Monday for “platform manipulation and spam.”

The Miami Herald reports that the suspension occurred after Jones shared one of its own articles about when law enforcement officers raided her home and confiscated some of her equipment.

“It was clearly an auto-lock feature against spamming. Should be back up soon,” Jones said to the Herald. According to Jones, Twitter has received her appeal of the suspension.

Jones was fired from the Florida State Department of Health last May for having “exhibited a repeated course of insubordination” and “blatant disrespect.” Jones, who set up the well-received Florida state COVID-19 data dashboard, repeatedly claimed that government officials manipulated COVID-19 data that was shown on the dashboard.

She has regularly butted heads with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), with the feud escalating after government agents raided her home.

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said the raid was conducted because Jones was suspected of hacking into the Florida Department of Health’s messaging system, an accusation that Jones has denied.

Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis, celebrated the suspension on Twitter.

“The Typhoid Mary of COVID-19 disinformation no longer has a platform to spread defamatory conspiracy theories. Long overdue,” Pushaw tweeted.

Though members of DeSantis’s office are celebrating the suspension, The Washington Post notes that critics of the Florida governor have called his remarks hypocritical, as he recently signed legislation that seeks to punish social media companies like Twitter for moderating user content.

Florida State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D) tweeted, “So @GovRonDeSantis AGREES with Twitter suspending accounts but only when he agrees with them?? ¡Hipócrita!”

In February, Jones dropped her civil suit against the state government for the raid into her home due to “a number of reasons,” including the ongoing criminal case accusing her of stalking her ex-boyfriend.

“We can’t have a civil suit running side by side when there’s a criminal case going on,” Jones’s attorney Richard Johnson said at the time. “It would give them the opportunity to get discovery from us to use in their criminal case. So we have to close off that avenue.”

Tags COVID-19 misinformation Florida Rebekah Jones Ron DeSantis Twitter

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