Twitter suspends former Florida data analyst Rebekah Jones’ account
Twitter suspended the account of the former COVID-19 data analyst at the Ministry of Health Rebecca jones. In email correspondence with the WFSU, Jones says she published an article in the Miami Herald, “a few dozen times too many and was automatically flagged as spam.”
According to a screenshot provided by Jones, Twitter said the company had suspended its account due to a violation of platform manipulation and spam rules.
“You may not use Twitter’s services in a way that is intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or to engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter,” the company says.
Jones has filed an appeal to have his account no longer suspended.
In response to the suspension of Jones’ Twitter account, Gov.’s press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted, “COVID-19 Typhoid Mary disinformation no longer has a platform to disseminate defamatory conspiracy theories. Long overdue.
COVID-19 Typhoid Mary misinformation no longer has a platform to spread slanderous conspiracy theories. Long overdue. https://t.co/aADRqNkq3f
– Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) June 7, 2021
During his employment with the state, Jones was responsible for updating Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard. She was fired from her job in May last year and has since claimed her dismissal was retribution for not tampering with data. The health ministry maintains that she was fired for modifying data without input from the agency’s epidemiologists or its supervisors. Jones then created his own COVID-19 tracker and has become a critic of the state’s response to the pandemic.
Jones’ home was raided late last year by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as part of an investigation into an unauthorized connection to the Department of Health’s messaging system. An unidentified person gained access to this system and sent a message saying, “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people die. You know it is wrong. You don’t have to be part of it. Be a hero. Speak up before it’s too late.
Law enforcement officials tracked the sender’s IP address, which led them to Jones’ home. Jones denied sending the message, but then surrendered after issuing an arrest warrant. He said Jones was responsible for the unauthorized access and several attempted unauthorized access to FDOH systems. Jones was released from Leon County jail after posting bail.
She recently obtained whistleblower status. Under state law, Jones could get his old job back or receive payments if investigators found his DOH firing was due to retaliation.