© 2021 All Rights reserved WUSF
News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics / Issues
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Twitter Suspends Account Of Former Florida Data Analyst Rebekah Jones

Rebekah Jones says Florida law enforcement agents seized electronic devices from her home in retaliation for her sharing COVID-19 data — and criticizing the state's pandemic response.
Rebekah Jones says Florida law enforcement agents seized electronic devices from her home in retaliation for her sharing COVID-19 data — and criticizing the state's pandemic response.

She says Twitter suspended her account because she violated rules against platform manipulation and spam.

Twitter has suspended the account of former Department of Health COVID-19 data analyst Rebekah Jones. In email correspondence with WFSU, Jones says she posted a Miami Herald article, "a few dozen times too many and got auto-flagged for spam."

According to a screen capture provided by Jones, Twitter stated the company had suspended her account due to violating rules against platform manipulation and spam.

"You may not use Twitter's services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people's experience on Twitter," the company states.

Jones has applied for an appeal to get her account unsuspended.

In response to Jones’ Twitter account suspension, the governor’s press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted “The Typhoid Mary of COVID-19 disinformation no longer has a platform to spread defamatory conspiracy theories. Long overdue.”

During her employment with the state, Jones was responsible for keeping Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard updated. She was fired from the job in May of last year and has since claimed her termination was retribution for not manipulating data. The Department of Health maintains she was fired for modifying data without input from agency epidemiologists or her supervisors. Jones has gone on to create her own COVID-19 tracker and has become a critic of the state’s response to the pandemic.

A search warrant was executed at her home late last year by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as part of an investigation into an unauthorized login into the Department of Health’s messaging system. An unidentified person gained access to that system and sent a message stating, “it’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out 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 would later turn herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest. It stated that Jones was responsible for the unauthorized access and several unauthorized access attempts to FDOH systems. Jones was released from the Leon County Jail after posting a bail bond.

She was recently granted whistleblower status. Under state law, Jones could get her old job back or receive payments if investigators find her termination from DOH was due to retaliation.
Copyright 2021 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.