Blackburn: Public pushed back over Twitter ban

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The social media network said on Monday she couldn't promote the video on Twitter unless she removed the phrase, but changed course Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn is demanding an apology from social media giant Twitter after it blocked her Senate campaign advertisement that mentions the abortion industry's alleged sales of baby body parts.

"According to Twitter", pro-life writer Matt Walsh responded on his own Twitter account, "it's more offensive to talk about Planned Parenthood killing babies than for Planned Parenthood to actually kill babies".

"The million-dollar question" is whether Twitter's initial removal of the video was "an honest mistake", said Daniel Ausbun, a Kentucky pastor whose YouTube account was temporarily deleted in 2014, apparently over a sermon he preached at a previous church about Christian persecution in the Middle East.

Earlier this week, Blackburn launched her campaign for the Senate through an online video outlining her political beliefs. But just one day after implementing the ban, the company has backed down, saying the video - which sees Blackburn talking about fighting to stop "the sale of baby body parts" - can be promoted on Twitter. Planned Parenthood has since announced that it would no longer donate aborted fetal tissue for reimbursement.

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"Marsha Blackburn ran an ad, which is launching her campaign for Senate".

Twitter initially told the candidate's vendors that the statement could be perceived as "inflammatory" and evoke a negative reaction. Although the video cannot be part of a paid promotion on Twitter, users can link to the video on the site and retweet Blackburn's post of the video.

Numerous media outlets reported Twitter's decision, and Blackburn, a Republican, claimed in a fundraising email that "Silicon Valley is trying to censor us. the liberal elite are relentless in their attempts to silence our movement".

"Our ads policies strive to balance protecting our users from potentially distressing content while allowing our advertisers to communicate their messages", the spokesperson wrote. "Nowhere is this more hard than in the realm of political advertising".

"The content's really important", she added, "but so are the ads because when Twitter took down the ad, they said well she can run the free content but she can't run the ad but we all know her ability to get that message out does depend on having access to ads which is why we allow, why we allow issue-based ads even when they're hard". Following additional reviews of Blackburn's video when she complained publicly about the initial block, Twitter made a decision to allow the "campaign ad to be promoted on our ads platform" despite initially determining "a small portion of the video used potentially inflammatory language".

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