Why Twitter Shut Down Republican Candidate’s Inflammatory Ad – Marsha Blackburn’s Ad Over “Sale of Baby Body Parts”

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Why Twitter Shut Down Republican Candidate’s Inflammatory Ad – Marsha Blackburn’s Ad Over “Sale of Baby Body Parts”

Marsha Blackburn took to Twitter to publicize her intention to run for the Tennessee senatorship with the incumbent Republican senator, Bob Corker, declaring that he would retire last month. In an unlikely twist, Marsha’s statement rubbed Twitter the wrong way and the social media site did not hesitate to bring down her video.

The report given to Marsha in her official Twitter account cites inflammatory and negative statements as the reasons for pulling down the ad. Interestingly, the ad is not pulled down per se as it is still available on the platform. What Twitter did was to prevent Marsha and her team from promoting the video further.

Twitter also said that if Marsha made amends to the video by deleting the inflammatory parts, it would have no qualms with her team promoting the video as per their wishes. Marsha, however, has not yet hinted to such a course of action.

In fact, she has done the opposite and taken the matter beyond Twitter’s scope by requesting her followers to post and promote the video on other social platforms. As to whether the other platforms will adopt a similar approach in dealing with the video is yet to be seen.

Specifics of the Inflammatory ad content

In the video, Marsha Blackburn starts by sharply critiquing the current state of the senate intimating that the senate has lost its bite. She particularly expresses grief on the current crop of Republican senators who she accuses of being “like Democrats or worse.”

Having been a congresswoman for over 8 years, Marsha goes on to claim that during her extensive tenure, in which she also served as the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Live’s chair, she fervently fought against the sale of fetal body parts.

Planned Parenthood, an organization that focusses on reproductive rights, is the alleged wrong doer that purportedly sold baby body tissues at a profit to facilitate medical research. This is the video’s part that upset Twitter. Other investigations have isolated Marsha’s claim after the organization was cleared from the said allegations.

Stand up against Silicon Valley

In a quick rejoinder after Twitter’s shutting down of her video, Marsha called out the social platform as well as the Silicon Valley community in general saying that they wanted to shut her down for simply telling the truth. She passionately appealed to the public to help her stand against such evils as well as Silicon Valley which she said was attempting to lord its values over the people.

Social media support

Luckily, the aspiring Tennessee senator managed to garner some support with even Sean Spencer, the former white house press secretary, showing his support. The lingering question in many people’s minds is what drove Twitter to flag the video given that a lot of other more abrasive material goes without punishment on the platform. Here are probable reasons why Twitter came across as overly proactive in this instance.

She is an aspiring senator

Aspiring politicians attract a lot of scrutiny. Unceasing investigations are conducted into previous conduct and there is always the high chance that others might be implicated. In Marsha Blackburn’s case, Twitter could have received negative publicity for letting the content pass if the predicted “strong negative reaction” would have come to pass.

Numbers and pressure

With negative publicity, it is likely that Twitter numbers would have suffered somewhat. Pressure against the platform to step up content monitoring would also have piled up. Both effects would then be self-inflicted wounds that could have been avoided via a simple flagging, and it, therefore, makes sense that Twitter shut down the ad.

To remain impartial

Twitter and other social sites never want to take sides especially in matters politics. By letting the ad run without flagging the abortion related portion that Twitter felt was likely to cause an adverse reaction, the platform would have seemingly passively taken a pro-Marsha stance.

Terms and conditions

In its terms and conditions, Twitter reserves the exclusive right to determine what kind of material is aired on its platform. In this case, Twitter exercised this right to deal with what it viewed as inappropriate. Laudably, the social behemoth remained professional offering an olive brand to Marsha if she were to edit out the flagged portions.

Make Twitter safer

In many of its content flaggings, Twitter reiterates its commitment to ensuring delivery of safe content to its user base. In line with this, a while back, the social media site tested a feature that would automatically detect and flag inappropriate content.

Users with a habit of posting sensitive content would have their profiles labelled appropriately to give viewers a heads up. In extreme cases, an account could ultimately be pulled down. In Marsha’s instance, only the video was flagged, with all other aspects of her account remaining untouched.

The damage the shutdown has dealt Marsha Blackburn’s push for the senatorship is not easily quantifiable but what is for sure is that is has painted her as a fighter who is neither afraid nor deterred to deal with parties she believes are on the wrong; and by extension, their supporters. In PR terms, it could end up as a positive rather than a negative.

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