The White House correspondent for right-wing news outlet Newsmax has been suspended from Twitter for a week, under the social media platform’s rules about spreading Covid misinformation.
Emerald Robinson posted a tweet on Monday that falsely claimed Covid vaccines “contain a bioluminescent marker called LUCIFERASE so that you can be tracked”.
She added: “Read the last book of the New Testament to see how this ends.”
The Daily Beast reported that a Twitter spokesperson confirmed Ms Robinson’s account “has been temporarily locked for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy”.
This is Newsmax's White House correspondent pic.twitter.com/hpmk7MXMxt— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 2, 2021
Luciferase is a class of enzymes that produces bioluminescence, which is when living organisms such as fireflies emit light. It is not contained in Covid vaccines. Other than its similar-sounding name, it has no obvious link to Lucifer, as the devil is called in Christian theology.
Twitter’s policy states that: “Content that is demonstrably false or misleading and may lead to significant risk of harm (such as increased exposure to the virus, or adverse effects on public health systems) may not be shared on Twitter”.
The platform locks the accounts of repeat offenders, with five or more “strikes” leading to permanent suspension.
On Tuesday, Newsmax released statements distancing itself from Ms Robinson’s tweet, referencing “false claims” that had been made about Covid vaccines, reported The Hill.
Elliot Jacobson, Newsmax’s executive vice president and chief content officer, said that the network is “a strong proponent that Covid 19 vaccines are overarchingly safe and effective.”
He added: “We have seen no evidence to suggest LUCIFERASE or LUCIFERIN are present in any vaccines or that they are used as any sort bioluminescent marker.”
In a separate statement made to The Hill, Newsmax said: “The many medical experts appearing on Newsmax have supported the use of the vaccine.”
Ms Robinson’s tweet, which has since been taken down, was replaced by a note from Twitter on her feed saying it had been removed because it violated the platform’s rules.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies