Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg criticized Twitter's decision this week to censor a campaign ad from Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who is running to replace Sen. Bob Corker.
In the ad, Blackburn addressed Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue scandal, saying she "stopped the sale of baby body parts." Twitter claimed on Monday that amounted to "an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction" and blocked the ad from its platform unless the campaign removed it. By Tuesday, however, Twitter had reversed its decision amid significant backlash.
In a Thursday interview with Axios, Sandberg dutifully noted her support for Planned Parenthood, but criticised Twitter's decision to pull the ad. "The question is, should divisive political or issue ads run?" the COO asked, adding, "Our answer is yes."
"When you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people," she argued.
Blackburn's ad was not especially "divisive" and it's unlikely Sandberg would apply that label to Democrats expressing their party's common positions on abortion. But her sentiments overall were promising.
"I think the responsibility of an open platform is to let people express themselves," Sandberg explained. "We don't check the information people put on Facebook before they run it and I don't think anyone should want us to do that."
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.