MPP Randy Hillier suspended from Twitter again

Independent Member of Provincial Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston Randy Hillier has been suspended from Twitter — again.

Hillier’s most recent Twitter suspension, on Tuesday, Mar. 8, 2022, came as a result of Hillier posting misinformation related to COVID-19, Twitter Canada explained.

According to a screenshot posted by Hillier and the anti-vaccine activist group No More Lockdowns Canada (below), the social media site suspended Hillier’s account for a period of seven days, after he posted a tweet making false claims about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

In the Mar. 1, 2022 tweet, Hillier links to misinformation, widely disseminated among anti-vaccine activists, which falsely claims that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was responsible for over 1200 deaths in a three-month period.

But the report that Hillier’s tweet points to doesn’t mean what anti-vaccine activists think it means, says science writer Edward Nirenberg.

“I see a lot of people sharing a document from Pfizer describing pharmacovigilance data from spontaneous reporting and the vast, vast majority of people are not interpreting it correctly so here’s a thread on what it actually says,” Nirenberg explained in a Twitter thread.

Firstly, Nirenberg explained, “adverse events (AEs) do not mean what you (probably) think they do. AEs do not equal side effects. AEs are monitored regardless of whether you get the active agent or the placebo in a trial, and that information may be reported in, (for example), package inserts. E.g. Gardasil has a report on its package insert of gunshot wounds as an AE. Need I explain that it doesn’t cause them?”

“In other words,” Nirenberg continued, “that big scary list in Appendix 1 that people are claiming are side effects of the Pfizer vaccine? Blatant lie.”

Hillier’s Twitter suspension comes less than a week after he announced he would not be running in the next provincial election, blaming, at least in part, “the vitriol, animus and invective” he was experiencing on social media. Even as he decries the lack of respect and decorum he sees online, Hillier’s own tweets have been widely criticized for being laden with misinformation, sometimes misogynistic, racist and, in the case where he appeared to encourage followers to falsely call 911 in protest, possibly illegal, which eventually led the Ontario Legislature to censure him.

Hillier has been suspended from Twitter previously. He was most recently temporarily suspended in February of last year after posting tweets denying the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging followers to mock mask-wearers.

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