On the average day, it feels like around 80 percent of content on Twitter is either out-and-out misinformation pushed by political partisans or racist shrieking by alt-right mouth-breathers about Jews and “white genocide.” Twitter famously, famously does a terrible job of policing abuse.
And yet there’s one subject, it seems, that will cause them to leap into action, even against a sitting Republican congresswoman.
Maybe it’s time to pack up the truck and find a new social-media garbage dump to hang around in.
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign announcement ad has been blocked by Twitter over a statement the abortion rights opponent makes about the sale of fetal tissue for medical research.
Blackburn, who is running for the seat being opened by the retirement of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, boasts in the ad that she “stopped the sale of baby body parts.” A Twitter representative told the candidate’s vendors on Monday that the statement was “deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.
Twitter said the Blackburn campaign would be allowed to run the rest of the video if the flagged statement is omitted.
To be clear, they’re not saying Blackburn can’t post the video; what they’re saying is that they won’t accept it as a paid ad. Even though, as reporter Haley Byrd rightly says, “inflammatory statements” that are “likely to evoke a strong negative reaction” describes more or less everything posted on the site.
Why would they do this? Not as a political matter, I mean — as a strategic matter. Blackburn is already shrewdly claiming martyrdom on behalf of the pro-life cause and will fundraise endlessly off of it. Conservatives will attack Twitter for political bias and hypocrisy in not filtering out other “inflammatory” ads pushing left-wing causes. It may even help the arguments on the left and right about regulating tech behemoths like Twitter, Google, and Facebook as public utilities gain traction. Trump will probably be tweeting about it before dinnertime. It’s bananas.
And incidentally: Yes, the part about selling baby body parts is accurate.