Twitter Blocks Blackburn Ad That Claims She Halted ‘Sale Of Baby Body Parts’

UNITED STATES - JULY 13: Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., talks with reporters in the Capitol on July 13, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

Twitter has blocked a top Republican representative from advertising her Senate campaign video on the social media outlet because of its “inflammatory” claims about Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced her Senate campaign over the weekend with a video that painted her as a “hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative” who is a “100 percent pro-life” candidate who “stopped the sale of baby body parts.”

Twitter said that line violated its advertising policies, according to an email obtained by Politico.

“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 wrote in an email to a consulting firm working for Blackburn’s campaign. “If this is omitted from the video it will be permitted to serve.”

The cryptic line in her campaign announcement is likely referring to Blackburn’s work leading a House investigation into Planned Parenthood after a video surfaced in 2015 that appeared to show the group profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, which has been illegal since 1993. Abortion providers can be paid for shipping and handling the material, New York magazine reported. 

Planned Parenthood consistently denied wrongdoing and never faced any criminal charges, but the anti-abortion activists who filmed it did. Those charges were eventually dropped. 

Blackburn is still able to promote the video by posting it on Twitter, but can’t pay to promote it. She’s been using the censorship by the social media giant to boost her campaign announcement. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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