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State Sen. Declan J. O'Scanlon. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy stays out of O’Scanlon battle with Twitter

Social media platform suspended GOP senator for 12 hours after tweet on vaccinations

By Ashley Gallagher, July 19 2021 4:52 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy did not take sides on whether or not Twitter’s decision to temporarily suspend State Sen, Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) was justified but hopes the social media platform remains consistent in applying the ban rules.

Over the weekend, Twitter froze O’Scanlon’s account for 12 hours after the GOP lawmaker criticized mandatory vaccinations for the coronavirus. Early Monday, O’Scanlon was reinstated on Twitter.  Now he wants Twitter to explain what was so problematic in his tweet that caused him to be suspended.

Murphy hopes Twitter “calls balls and strikes equally,” and states that his administration is not in touch with Twitter.

But Murphy also said that people ought to be held accountable for misstatements on public health issues.

“If they are speaking or allowing information which is absolutely false and at odds with the facts … they are putting people’s lives at risk,” Murphy said.  “There is no other way to put that.”

O’Scanlon is demanding an explanation from Twitter.

“I was recently banned from Twitter for simply opposing the concept of a mandatory COVID-19 passport and mandatory vaccines still under emergency use authorization for our K-12 public school students,” he said.  “Simply put, these two concepts are wildly premature and the government should always take a conservative approach.”

O’Scanlon said he has “been an advocate for vaccinations before and during the pandemic.”

“I do not believe that government should be mandating emergency use drugs or mandating vaccine passports,” O’Scanlon said.  “We cannot tolerate blatant censorship purposefully triggered by government/media/social media agendas.”

GOP State Chairman Bob Hugin slammed Twitter for suspending O’Scanlon.

“This appalling suppression of free speech is an assault on our democracy, and is as unacceptable as it is un-American,” Hugin stated.  “In expressing opposition to mandatory vaccine passports, Senator O’Scanlon gave voice to the many New Jerseyans who have legitimate concerns about privacy and civil liberties by being required to show proof of vaccination to participate in everyday activities.”

Murphy used a question on O’Scanlon at his weekly press briefing to affirm his stance on COVID-19 vaccinations and fights for more people to get vaccinated.

“There is no question that if you are unvaccinated, you are very exposed to it,” he said.

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