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Twitter blocks Republican's campaign ad over "baby body parts" claim

by Carter Sherman
Oct 9 2017, 6:12pm

Twitter blocked an ad for Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign over claims that she “stopped the sale of baby body parts” — a reference to alleged sales of fetal tissue for medical research that have been thoroughly debunked.

Blackburn, who is campaigning for retiring Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s seat, announced the decision on Twitter Monday. A Twitter representative told the campaign that the comment “had been deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction,” a violation of Twitter’s advertising standards, according to the Tennessean. The site said Blackburn could reupload the video as an ad if that portion were removed.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Twitter confirmed that promoted tweets from Blackburn’s campaign account were suspended for violating Twitter’s advertising rules. The spokesperson also pointed to Twitter’s public advertising policy, which says that promoted tweets face stricter rules since “advertisers on Twitter have access to a wide range of targeting [options] to promote their Tweets to a wider audience. Because of this, advertisers on Twitter have the power to reach an audience beyond the users who choose to follow their account.”

The video is still up on Blackburn’s campaign Twitter account, and it doesn’t seem like she has any plans to follow Twitter’s advertising standards — instead, she tweeted about “standing up to Silicon Valley” and posted her complete ad again.

The claim is reference to Blackburn’s position on the “House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives,” which formed in response to allegations that Planned Parenthood was profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, which is illegal under federal law. But several investigations found no evidence to substantiate the allegations.

The video’s unabashed ploy for far right voters, however, isn’t limited to just Blackburn’s “baby body parts” line. It also includes footage of her wearing pink earmuffs to fire “the gun that I do pack in my purse,” boasts that she stands during the national anthem, and includes a comment about “courage [coming] in both genders.”

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