Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. arrives on the floor of the House, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (Erin Scott/Pool via AP)​

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. arrives on the floor of the House, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (Erin Scott/Pool via AP)

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Unraveling viral disinformation and explaining where it came from, the harm it’s causing, and what we should do about it.

Georgia’s newest member of the House of Representatives, Marjorie Taylor Greene, began her career on Capitol Hill on Sunday in a pretty inauspicious fashion.

In Washington for the swearing-in of the new Congress, she entered the halls wearing a “TRUMP WON” mask but then promptly dispensed with the mask when she stepped onto the House floor, causing a “screaming match” between congressional staffers who demanded she put her mask back on, according to reporter Jake Sherman. 

Greene and one unidentified Republican representative walked out of the chamber without putting their masks on.

Later, in a statement issued to the Washington Examiner, Greene’s office said she “was not wearing a mask on the floor because rules haven’t been adopted yet for the 117th Congress.”  In July, Speaker Nancy Pelosi mandated masks on the House floor for the 116th Congress and is likely to make similar rules for the current Congress, but those rules have yet to be put in place.

Greene also claimed Pelosi had changed the rules to allow Democrat members who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 to vote for her as Speaker of the House.

“Rep. Greene is healthy, but Rep. Pelosi is bringing in COVID-positive members of her party for her desperate attempt to cling to the gavel,” the statement read.

Greene was referring to Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore, who announced on Dec. 28 that she had tested positive for the coronavirus. However, Moore told a Politico reporter on Sunday that she had been quarantining for two weeks.

The Capitol Hill doctor, Brian Monahan, clarified that House members who had been in quarantine due to COVID exposure were taking part in the swearing-in and the vote for Speaker from “secure” plexiglass enclosures.

Twitter/Marjorie Taylor Greene

Greene, a QAnon-supporter going back three years, was on the floor for the swearing-in of the new Congress. She is among a cohort of Republicans who this week plan to defy the Electoral College vote, which has certified that President-elect Joe Biden won November’s election.

Greene and the Republican Party have attempted to distance her from the conspiracy cult, but she has refused to directly denounce QAnon despite multiple opportunities to do so. 

Here’s what else is happening in the world of disinformation:

Election officials are now debunking disinformation on Twitter

This is what it’s come to. President Trump and his allies are pushing so much disinformation about the election result that a Republican election official in Georgia has resorted to debunking false claims directly on Twitter — two months after the election concluded.

Over the weekend, Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for Georgia, decided to go directly to the source and respond to some of the most outlandish claims being made about the election results.

Trump’s phone call was straight out of the QAnon fever swamp

A leaked recording of Trump’s phone call with Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, was published by the Washington Post Sunday, revealing that the president tried to pressure the official to overturn the election results in the state.

“So what are we going to do here folks?” Trump said. “I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”

But behind Trump’s unhinged demands were widely debunked conspiracy theories that originated in the QAnon fever swamp and are now being fed directly to the president by far right media outlets like One America News and Newsmax.

“You know the Internet? You know what was trending on the Internet?” Trump said, referring to a QAnon harassment campaign against a poll worker linked to unverified claims of election fraud.

It was unsurprising then that Trump on Sunday retweeted four posts from Ron Watkins, the administrator of 8kun, the fringe message board where QAnon’s messages are posted, and one of the most prominent boosters of QAnon election fraud conspiracies in recent months.

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