UPDATED with Twitter unlocking account: Twitter said Friday that it has unlocked the account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign after locking it Wednesday for posting a video it deemed violated the platform’s abusive behavior policy.
On Thursday, a GOP Senate fundraising arm the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it was suspending its ad spending on Twitter in response to to the move.
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Twitter explained the decision today.
“Several Twitter users, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account, were temporarily locked out of their accounts for Tweeting a video that violated our abusive behavior policy,” the site wrote on its communications handle. “The video contained a violent threat directed at Leader McConnell, a clear violation of the Twitter Rules.
“After multiple appeals from affected users and Leader McConnell’s team confirming their intent to highlight the threats for public discussion, we have reviewed this case more closely. Going forward, the video will be visible on the service with a sensitive media interstitial and only in cases where the Tweet content does not otherwise violate the Twitter Rules.”
The video, which highlighted a group of protesters in front of the Kentucky senator’s Louisville residence, had been blocked as part of Twitter’s lock but was restored Friday. The campaign celebrated with new tweet, which linked to its website’s donations page.
Thank you to EVERYONE for helping #FreeMitch.
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) August 9, 2019
PREVIOUSLY, August 8: The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Thursday it is suspending its spending on Twitter in response to the social media platform locking an account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the day before.
McConnell’s official campaign handle, @Team_Mitch, was flagged Wednesday for tweeting out a video showing a protest in front of the Kentucky senator’s home that included violent threats, which Twitter said violated site policy. The tweet appears to have been taken down.
NSRC executive director Kevin McLaughlin retweeted a Politico story today that reported on the decision to halt spending. “#MassacreMitch trended on @Twitter for a full day, and they did nothing. Someone threatens to stab the Majority Leader, @TeamMitch posts the video and THEY get locked out. @NRSC is not spending $ until this is adequately addressed.”
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) August 8, 2019
The @GOP and @TeamTrump stand with the @Team_Mitch and the @NRSC. Any future ad $ either organization was planning to spend with @Twitter has been halted until they address this disgusting bias. https://t.co/IVXjjDkizA
— Richard Walters (@rww_gop) August 8, 2019
The NSRC helps GOP Senate candidates in fundraising, communications tools and messaging, and research and strategy.
The McConnell campaign’s most recent visible tweet, from Tuesday, addressed the protest, which occurred in front of McConnell’s Louisville home. “These threats go far beyond a political cartoon or a broken shoulder, they are serious calls to physical violence and we’ve alerted law enforcement.”
Conservatives led by President Donald Trump have been critical of social media platforms and Silicon Valley giants including Twitter, Facebook and Google for what they perceive is political bias.