Twitter backs down, will allow Blackburn to promote Senate ad
Twitter reversed its decision to block a GOP congresswoman from promoting her campaign video on its website.
In a video announcing her campaign for the Senate, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) referenced “baby body parts,” which Twitter called a violation of its guidelines.
The social media network said on Monday she couldn’t promote the video on Twitter unless she removed the phrase, but changed course Tuesday.
“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,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“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,” they said.
In her video announcement, Blackburn says: “I fought Planned Parenthood, and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God.”
Blackburn was referring to her work as the chairwoman of a House panel investigating the use of fetal tissue for research following the 2015 release of a series of undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood.
The heavily-edited videos showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing the transfer of tissue from aborted fetuses from the organization to research laboratories.
The creators of the video allege Planned Parenthood sells the tissue, but a number of state investigations have failed to find any evidence of that.
Donating the tissue is legal, with consent from the woman, but selling it is illegal in the United States. Clinics are allowed to recover some costs, like handling and shipping.
Blackburn’s committee eventually recommended in its final report that federal funding be banned for research on fetal tissue obtained through elective abortions.
Blackburn used Twitter’s decision as a content opportunity, calling for donations from her supporters and asking them to amplify the video’s reach by asking them to tweet out her message.