Twitter has suspended the account of conservative lobbyist Jack Burkam after he claimed that some stores are running out of food and will soon close.
What he said: In his first tweet, Burkam claimed that he had talked to Kellyanne Conway, who serves as counselor to the president and learned that Safeway and Target stores are struggling to remain open. “Both will close on Friday,” he added.
In a follow-up tweet, Burkam said that the White House is readying for a food shortage and that National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be handing out ready-to-eat meals (MREs).
The tweets were flagged by liberal activist group Sleeping Giants, who suggested Burkman was stoking panic.
How do these tweets not clearly break these rules? Instigating panic for food doesn’t count?? pic.twitter.com/QNW1Aej5gW
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) March 19, 2020
Twitter suspended his account, citing its policy about COVID-19 disinformation, a company spokesperson said.
Burkman’s response: “Twitter has dumped me apparently for no reason at all,” he told the Daily Beast.
Worth noting: Twitter this week introduced new, tighter rules regarding posts about the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it will require the removal of a variety of tweets, including denial of “expert guidance,” inciting panic about the pandemic, false and misleading claims, and even jokes.
It’s the company’s latest effort to crack down on misinformation about the outbreak on the platform. Facebook and YouTube have also implemented rules when it comes to information about the coronavirus. Facebook is even set to add an information center on the top of users’ news feed where they can get credible information.
Background: Burkman is best known for his collaborations with conservative huckster Jacob Wohl. The two attempted to smear former special counsel Robert Mueller in 2018 with fake accusations of sexual misconduct that backfired. They reportedly tried pulling the same stunt against former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.