The Twitter account for Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign was suspended after it posted videos of what it described as 'violent threats' against the Republican Senate majority leader.
The suspension, which the company confirmed, comes as President Donald Trump ramps up criticism of social media for its alleged anti-conservative bias.
'We appealed and Twitter stood by their decision, saying our account will remain locked until we delete the video,' McConnell’s campaign manager, Kevin Golden, said in a statement. While shutting down McConnell’s account, Twitter Inc. had allowed a hashtag threatening him to spread, Golden said.
An emailed fundraising appeal signed by McConnell described the video as showing 'a left-wing mob making violent threats against me outside my home' and urging potential donors to help him 'fight social media censorship.' McConnell, who is running for reelection in Kentucky, is recovering from a fractured shoulder.
The company said in a statement that the lock-out occurred because of 'a Tweet that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety.' The site bans the sharing of threats of violence, even against oneself, as well as 'glorification of violence.'
Trump is pressuring social media companies such as Twitter to expand their efforts to stop violent extremism after a series of shootings. The White House has invited unidentified companies to discuss violent extremism online on Friday.
The platforms’ prior efforts to shut down abusive rhetoric have prompted criticism from political accounts, often on the right, that they were being silenced. Social media platforms reject the notion that they engage in political censorship, although they have admitted to mistaken actions that affected prominent politicians.
Social media companies have clashed with congressional leadership from both parties in recent months. In May, Facebook Inc. refused to take down an edited video of Nancy Pelosi that made it look like she was slurring her words, prompting a sharp rebuke from the Democratic House speaker.
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