Twitter made a controversial decision to block a campaign ad for Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and now they are reversing that decision. The company on Monday said that they initially blocked the ad promoting her Senate campaign launch because of a line referencing “baby body parts.” They called it “inflammatory,” and said it violated their guidelines. Blackburn and other Republicans quickly criticized the social media platform’s decision and asked for an apology. Well, now she has scored two wins for the price of one.
First, a Twitter spokesperson replied: “Our ads policies strive to balance protecting our users from potentially distressing content while allowing our advertisers to communicate their messages. Nowhere is this more difficult than in the realm of political advertising and the highly charged issues that are often addressed therein. After further review, we have made the decision to allow the content in question from Rep. Blackburn’s campaign ad to be promoted on our ads platform. While we initially determined that a small portion of the video used potentially inflammatory language, after reconsidering the ad in the context of the entire message, we believe that there is room to refine our policies around these issues.”
Second, Marsha Blackburn’s campaign said it was pleased with the reversal. The congresswoman was able to raise money off the decision on Monday, saying that “Silicon Valley elites” were trying to “impose their values.”
“It’s a real shame that this censorship happened in the first place,” said Andrea Bozek, a Blackburn spokeswoman. “While Marsha is disappointed that they attempted to censor her pro-life record, we are pleased they have reconsidered their decision. This is just the latest example of Marsha’s leadership. She will never back down from standing up for our conservative values.”
In the video in question, Blackburn boasted: “I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts. Thank God.” The line refers to her work with a House select committee that investigated Planned Parenthood and shot videos by an undercover journalist. Planned Parenthood seemed to be profiting from the sale of fetal body tissue. The group denied any wrongdoing and did not face criminal charges.
Blackburn is the leading candidate to replace Sen. Bob Corker who is retiring at the end of his term in 2018.
Do you think Twitter made the right decision in the beginning or is their reversal the way they should have gone?