July 24, 2021

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Fired Covid-19 Data Manager is Now Running for Congress

Fired Covid-19 Data Manager is Now Running for Congress
Florida’s fired Department of Health data manager Rebekah Jones lost access to her 400,000 followers on Twitter last month — which she’d been using to criticize Florida governor Ron DeSantis for downplaying the severity of the state’s Covid-19 crisis. Then Jones announced she’d be running for Congress. “This also means, under Desantis’ recently signed social media law, I get to fine Twitter $250K per day until my account is restored starting July 1.”

Orlando Weekly reports:
After a media frenzy, Jones deleted the post. She said she was attempting to point out Gov. Ron DeSantis’s “hypocrisy” in writing a law that allowed political candidates to sue media companies that ban them, while still celebrating her Twitter suspension…

The bit became real when she filed to run as an Independent in Florida’s 1st congressional district on June 25…

On her campaign website, she lists eight issues on her platform: protecting Florida’s environmental systems, promoting government transparency, fighting for media accountability in disinformation, giving access to representatives, ensuring the district’s veterans are taken care of, scrutinizing restrictive voting laws, funding science and research, and boosting support for all levels of education. Jones says there’s still room for other issues on her platform, after she talks to more residents.

Jones’ GoFundMe account (“DefendScience”) now directs visitors to her official campaign site if they want to make campaign contributions. (And the GoFundMe page also notes that her campaign has been endorsed by 90-year-old Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret government study on the Vietnam War.)

But the last six weeks have been a wild ride for the data scientist:

Last month Florida’s Inspector General granted official whistleblower status to Jones.Six days later Twitter told Slashdot they’d “permanently suspended” Jones’ account “for violations of the Twitter Rules on spam and platform manipulation.”When Jones then created a new Twitter account for her campaign, “it was suspended within a day of its creation,” Orlando Weekly reports.Jones created a new account on Instagram named “insubordinatescientist”. Yet since June 16th Instagram has also marked it as “unavailable,” saying the link “may be broken, or the page may have been removed.” (Since June 16th Instagram has not responded to Slashdot’s request for an explanation.)Jones’ GoFundMe page now refers visitors to an entirely different Instagram page.
Yesterday the official coronavirus coordinator for the U.S. White House reported that one in five of America’s Covid-19 cases this week have come from Florida.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.