Marsha Blackburn Ad Gets Blocked by Twitter over “stopped the sale of body parts” Statement
Planned Parenthood, Twitter, Marsha Blackburn, Breitbart News, Social Media, Political Ad
Breitbart News reported on having “exclusive emails” that expose the reasons Twitter blocked a political ad from a major political candidate, Marsha Blackburn, who is hoping to replace Bob Corker as one of the Senators of Tennessee following his retirement.
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In the ad, Blackburn was outlining her pro-life bona vides. At one point, referring to Planned Parenthood, Blackburn stated the she “stopped the sale of body parts.”
This phrase, “stopped the sale of body parts,” was the particular phase that was cited as the reason Twitter blocked the ad.
A Twitter representative stated, about the block, “Yes – it appears that the line in this video specific to ‘stopped the sale of baby body parts’ has been deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction. If this is omitted from the video it will be permitted to serve.”
Breitbart News likened the blocking of this political ad to “1984-style censorship.” They accused the social media leviathan of seeking to protect their users from beliefs which were not liberal. Sean Moran wrote, “Apparently, Twitter would rather have social media users remain in a quiet safe-space than allow campaign ads which run counter to their liberal beliefs.”
The political candidate, Marsha Blackburn, tweeted out in response to the blocking of her political ad “Twitter shut down our video ad, claiming it’s “inflammatory” & “negative.” Join me in standing up to Silicon Valley → RETWEET our message!”
The fact that Twitter chose to block the ad of a major political candidate running for office at the US Senate level is a step up in Twitter’s willingness to enforce its rather vaguely written standards (how do you define inflammatory and negative, for instance) even if it means butting up against very powerful political operatives like Marsha Blackburn and, really, the GOP itself.
To be sure, Twitter’s enforcement of its standards seems selective, at best, but then, owing to the inherent relative meaning of the words that define these standards, the arbitrary, or even, biased nature would be one that would only be seen by those that fit outside of the paradigm of the monitors making decisions at Twitter as to what exactly is inflammatory and negative.
But, at the end of the day, Twitter is still a private enterprise. The owners, the managers of that enterprise have chosen, for whatever reason, to enforce a certain standard that tends to not favor traditional conservative views.
It could very well be that these owners, these managers may well believe that filtering out aspects of the conservative world view that they deem to be inflammatory and negative will be helpful to them in attracting ad revenue. They might very well be right about the assumption.
It could very well be that these owners, these managers, are not so interested in making profit as they are in utilizing a tool to help advance the types of narratives they favor. Maybe Twitter has some secret funding source behind it that enables it to withstand the market pressure that would result from a communication tool becoming unreliable, inconsistent, and more and more useless to a significant portion of the potential market, namely, conservatives.
Either way, the motivations behind Twitter’s decision to block Blackburn’s ad are not as relevant as the plain reality. Twitter is becoming a platform that is not as useful to conservatives as it once was. This move by Twitter telegraphs that it intends on going full bore with its program, be it motivated by profit or political action.
The reaction of conservatives, it seems to me, is not the type of reaction that one would expect from a group of people who claim to be champions of the free market. Dare I say it, in the strictest sense of the term, Twitter did nothing wrong.
The response from conservatives should not be to make claims that Twitter is somehow censoring people. It’s a tool built for and provided by private enterprise that can be used as that enterprise sees fit. You should have no expectation whatsoever to being able to freely use that platform and express what you want to express on that platform.
America is comprised, by my somewhat educated guess, of at least 35 percent conservatives. That means there exists a marketplace of around 100 million people for some industrious individuals to reach with a microblogging platform that could provide for conservatives what Twitter does not.
Instead of addressing Twitter as a platform that is no longer useful, and therefore must be replaced by an alternative, some conservatives are calling for legislation regulating social media in general, claiming that social media has become a ‘public utility.’
Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc, are free, and should be free, to be the tools of a political agenda, or the profit-making tools that the owners and managers believe will be more profitable if you filter out the “inflammatory” and “negative” content the users are creating. Insofar as they use government to artificially limit the ability of potential competitors, that should be the target of your ire.
I have little doubt that conservatives, and many other folks as well (including myself, who creates content that doesn’t exactly meet the criterion of these social media leviathans), should spend a lot less time hand-wringing over the decisions of these social media platforms.
Instead, they should seek to actively support and promote alternative platforms where the content not favored by Youtube, Twitter, Google, etc, can more openly exist and have an audience. I myself, while I still produce videos on YouTube, also have begun putting my videos on Bitchute (see my channel here- https://www.bitchute.com/channel/paulgordon/ ).
I also regularly promote Bitchute and other alternative social media platforms that laud themselves as “free speech” platforms. If I had the technical skills to do so, I could find myself trying to develop my own alternatives. As it is, the best I can do is to support and promote these alternative platforms.
I do believe that Twitter and other social media leviathans are grossly overestimating their worth in society and possibly setting themselves up to be the AOL Online, the MySpace, the Netscape, the Yahoo of the not-so-different-future.
I do believe that if these social media leviathans do not dial down their aggressive approach to promoting a certain political narrative while targeting other political narratives that contrast the ones they favor, they will end up, in the end, helping to usher in a new social media reality where individuals use the platforms that favor their own biases.
The net result will be less talking to one another and more insular, echo chamber dialogue. The social media leviathans of today will be, at best, much smaller progressive kingdoms of tomorrow in a world where there will be more choices to meet the many mini-markets that exist in the overall marketplace of ideas.
That potential outcome is not a bad outcome at all, echo chambers notwithstanding. And so, even though I don’t prefer social media platforms that have what appears to be bias, at best, and complete arbitrary enforcement of standards, at worst, I prefer to see moves like this with Twitter, where it is clear who they are and what they represent.
It is moves like this that will accelerate a free market response, one that could theoretically produce an outcome I find much more favorable to the social media reality we have now, one that is dominated by a few players who, because of their near-monopolistic status, feel so emboldened to treat creators like necessary evils that have to be closely monitored rather than the very lifeblood of an engine whose product is, ostensibly, audience.