Twitter really stepped in it Monday when it blocked Rep. Marsha Blackburn's video launching her Senate bid. Twitter argued the Tennessee congresswoman's pro-life rhetoric was "inflammatory" and that it could "evoke a strong negative reaction."
Remarkably, this isn't even the first time that the popular social media platform has come down on an anti-abortion voice.
In July, the pro-life group Live Action told the Washington Examin that Twitter refused to do business with them until they agreed to delete "offensive" and "provocative" tweets.
Twitter explained at the time that the tweets Live Action submitted for promotion were in violation of company policy, which states content can't be "threatening, violent, gruesome, abusive, shocking or disturbing … offensive, vulgar or obscene … inflammatory" or anything "which is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction."
These are the tweets that Live Action was told were in violation of Twitter's ad policy:
Live Action declined to delete the tweet, arguing instead that they were being asked to submit to a double-standard. Twitter is showing a "blatant bias against pro-life material," the group's founder, Lila Rose, said in response to the company's request.
The pro-life non-profit also noted that Planned Parenthood, which is the largest provider of abortion in the United States, has many promoted tweets that could easily be described as "offensive" or "provocative."
Here's a sample of some of Planned Parenthood's Twitter timeline:
"The way Donald Trump speaks about people who are different than him disgusts me." https://t.co/vUWXVb7EuL #ToxicTrump #PinkOutTheVote pic.twitter.com/pxZyV1uOXu— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) October 19, 2016
"Defunding" Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. Here's who gets hurt when politicians attack access to care: https://t.co/v2VwIZaLZP pic.twitter.com/6PYgcYQf8d— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) January 3, 2017
"This is a platform, of course, that is a public company," Lila Rose told the Examiner. "So, this is not something they're telling their shareholders or telling their users, that they're actually going to be blocking the advertisement of pro-life speech. This is something they've been keeping a secret."
It shouldn't be that surprising, then, to read that Twitter blocked Blackburn's Senate campaign video, which featured her saying in reference to Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue scandal that she, "stopped the sale of baby body parts."
Blackburn chaired the House panel that concluded in a committee report that Planned Parenthood's practice of salvaging body parts from the remains of aborted children, "makes a vanishingly small contribution to clinical and research efforts, if it contributes at all." The report also recommended that federal grants for that type of research be cut back.
"I know the left calls me a wingnut or a knuckle-dragging conservative," Blackburn said in the video blocked by Twitter. "And you know what? I say that's all right. Bring it on."
It's remarkable that on a platform where little is done to curb harassment and abuse, and where self-avowed white supremacists are not only given a platform, but some are even verified, pro-life rhetoric is what catches the censors' attention.
The Blackburn-chaired House panel may not have found anything outright illegal in Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue trafficking scheme, but there's a reason why it was a story in the first place. It's a repulsive practice. Let Blackburn and others continue to shine a light on it.