Twitter is facing heavy pushback for its decision to lock Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account for sharing a video documenting violent threats against him, with Senator Ted Cruz, the Republican party, the Trump campaign, and many others announcing that they will be pulling their Twitter ads until McConnell’s campaign account is restored.
Twitter defended its decision to lock McConnell’s campaign account, saying that its “violent threats policy” applies even if accounts are documenting threats of violence made against them. However, Twitter’s claims appear to be inconsistent with its actions.
Comedian Sarah Silverman recently documented a violent threat made against her which, based on Twitter’s standards, should have resulted in the video being taken down and Silverman’s account being locked. Twitter user Michael Duncan pointed out the double standard, saying “By @TwitterSupport’s own policy invoked against @Team_Mitch, this video should be taken down and Sarah’s account should be locked.”
— Michael Duncan (@MichaelDuncan) August 9, 2019
Senator Cruz responded to McConnell’s campaign account being locked by describing it as “unbelievable even for Twitter” and said, “we will not spend a single penny” until the McConnell campaign account is restored.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 8, 2019
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) tweeted that it will also be pulling all Twitter spending until “they stop silencing conservatives.” The NRCC has spent over $100,000 on Twitter ads since September 2018.
— NRCC (@NRCC) August 8, 2019
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) said that it too will stop spending on Twitter ads until the McConnell campaign account is unlocked.
#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. https://t.co/PeliVzz1hU
— Kevin McLaughlin (@KevinMcLaughlin) August 8, 2019
Mitch McConnell needs our help! Get your shirt and help #FreeMitch!
— The Senate Majority (@NRSC) August 9, 2019
The Republican Party and President Trump’s official campaign account also said all their Twitter ads will be paused until Twitter addressees “this disgusting bias.”
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 Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) super PAC are another group that has come out in support of the McConnell campaign, tweeting “We won’t be spending any ad $$$” until “they stop this unfair censorship of conservatives.”
— Congressional Leadership Fund (@CLFSuperPAC) August 8, 2019
The Republican Attorney General Association (RAGA) said until Twitter stops “their anti-conservative bias,” it will be joining others in pulling Twitter ads.
— RAGA (@RepublicanAGs) August 8, 2019
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) joined these other groups by stopping Twitter spending until the McConnell campaign account is unlocked, with its executive director adding, “The anti-conservative bias and double standards must end.”
— Austin Chambers (@achambersgop) August 8, 2019
The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) echoed the sentiments of the RGA, with one of its representatives tweeting “Enough is enough.”
— Austin Chambers (@achambersgop) August 8, 2019
The Senate Leadership Fund responded to the situation by pausing Twitter ads over the “unfair treatment” of McConnell’s campaign account and telling Twitter “get your act together.”
— Senate Leadership Fund (@Senate_Fund) August 8, 2019
Republican Party of Kentucky is yet another group that committed to not doing business with Twitter until McConnell’s campaign account is unlocked.
— Republican Party of Kentucky (@KYGOP) August 8, 2019
Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted that none of her campaign’s ad spend will be going to Twitter until McConnell’s campaign account is back.
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) August 8, 2019
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann said he too will not be spending on Twitter until the issue is resolved and added that “Twitter’s continued bias against conservatives is troubling.”
— Chuck Fleischmann (@chuck4congress) August 8, 2019
Martha McSally’s campaign account also pledged to spend no money on Twitter until McConnell’s campaign account comes back, adding “Conservative voices shouldn’t be silenced.”
— McSally For Senate (@MarthaMcSally) August 8, 2019
Senator Thom Thillis also showed his support to McConnell’s campaign team by saying “Twitter has chosen to become a partisan outlet, silencing conservatives at the same time they give the far-left a free pass on incendiary rhetoric.”
Twitter has chosen to become a partisan outlet, silencing conservatives at the same they give the far-left a free pass on incendiary rhetoric. We will not be running any advertising on @twitter until @Team_Mitch is restored #ncsen #ncpol
— Thom Tillis (@ThomTillis) August 8, 2019
Students For Trump tweeted that they too stand with the McConnell campaign, the NRSC, and Trump campaign. They said that Twitter’s “blatant hypocrisy is mind-boggling, and their justifications are inadequate.”
— Students For Trump (@TrumpStudents) August 8, 2019
Not only is Twitter losing multiple high profile advertisers, some of which spent six figures on Twitter ads over the last year, but it’s also generating a significant amount of negative publicity because of its decision to lock the McConnell campaign account. Collectively, the accounts that are protesting Twitter’s decision reach more than 6 million followers on the platform.
Twitter’s decision to lock McConnell’s campaign account comes days after the company started using AI to shut down #demandvoterid – a hashtag that was primarily being used by conservatives to promote the use of voter ID for fairer elections. Prior to this, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey vowed to suppress what he deems to be “misinformation” on the road to the 2020 US presidential elections.