Twitter backtracked on Tuesday night after initially banning advertisements for a congresswoman’s campaign video, with the social media giant releasing a statement noting that, upon further reflection, the spot can now be advertised on the platform.
As Faithwire previously reported, Twitter deemed an ad from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is running for a Senate seat in Tennessee, as “potentially inflammatory” over a line about Planned Parenthood’s alleged “sale of baby body parts.”
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) October 10, 2017
The specific line in question was: “I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts. Thank God.”
A spokesperson for Twitter sent out the following statement to POLITICO on Tuesday after Blackburn vocally opposed the decision to restrict her ad:
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.
The drama over the ad started after a Twitter employee reportedly reached out to Targeted Victory, a consulting firm running the video campaign, to inform the company about the purported issues with the clip.
“It appears that the line in this video specific to ‘stopped the sale of baby body parts’ has been deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction,” a Twitter staffer initially wrote. “If this is omitted from the video it will be permitted to serve.”
Watch the campaign ad that includes the Planned Parenthood message below:
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) October 9, 2017
Blackburn’s team used the flap on Monday and Tuesday to promote her Senate run, with the congresswoman taking to media to hit back at Twitter’s decision.
In an appearance on Fox News, Blackburn said that she is astounded to see that a pro-life ad would be “censored,” seizing on the controversy to make a series of points.
“This is a pro-women, pro-baby, pro-life message. And yes indeed, as chairman of the selective investigative panel, the work that our committee delivered stopped this practice of selling baby body parts,” she said, referencing a subcommittee that explored 2015 allegations that Planned Parenthood sold fetal body parts. “It’s something that people wanted to see shut down.”
Blackburn also said she found it “amazing” that Twitter would show people “take a knee” during the national anthem, but would restrict a “pro-life, pro-woman, pro-baby message.”
Liberal elites continue to try and silence the truth. In Tennessee, we proudly stand for pro-life principles. https://t.co/3uoS3MsZ0S
— Diane Black (@votedianeblack) October 9, 2017
Debate has persisted over whether undercover videos released in 2015 showed Planned Parenthood haggling over the price of fetal body parts, though the organization has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any such activity.