- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
- Twitter suspended @Team_Mitch, an account managed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s re-election campaign.
- The account posted a video to Twitter showing a group of Kentucky protesters in opposition to McConnell on Aug. 6.
- The video was later removed by Twitter with a link to its enforcement policies for tweets that violate the social media platform’s rules.
- The National Republican Congressional Committee pledged not to advertise on Twitter until the Team_Mitch account is unlocked.
- Twitter has since lifted the suspension and now allows the video on Twitter with a “sensitive content” warning.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
UPDATE: Twitter has reversed course on a policy decision that led to the suspension of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account, @Team_Mitch. The account was originally suspended for sharing a video of protestors promoting violence against McConnell outside of his home.
Twitter said the video is now visible with a sensitive content warning, and @Team_Mitch and other users who shared the video are able to tweet again. The company said it changed its decision after McConnell’s team said the video was intended to spark public discussion. Previously, Twitter had resolved to keep @Team_Mitch from posting on the social media platform until the campaign deleted the video in question.
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. https://t.co/Cuvh305ERA
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) August 9, 2019
The original story of McConnell’s suspension can be found below.
A Twitter account representing the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was locked by Twitter for an apparent policy violation. Twitter removed a video posted to @Team_Mitch on Aug. 6 that showed a group of protesters opposing McConnell’s campaign in his home state of Kentucky; the video was replaced with a link to Twitter’s enforcement policies.
McConnell’s campaign tweeted that the protesters and other liberal users on Twitter were threatening physical violence against the senator. McConnell recently fractured his shoulder at his home in Kentucky on Aug. 4, and multiple Twitter users have posted tweets welcoming further injury to the Senate majority leader.
A statement from Twitter said the @Team_Mitch account was locked for sharing the video, which included violent threats against McConnell.
“The user was temporarily locked out of their account for a Tweet that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
While @Team_Mitch was using the video to highlight aggression against McConnell, Twitter’s policy is to block content that includes violent threats, regardless of context. The suspension is temporary, but the account hasn’t tweeted since Aug. 6, the day the video was posted.
McConnell’s campaign later shared the video on YouTube.
“This is the b—— house, he’s in there nursing his broken arm, he should’ve just broken his ragged, wrinkled-a– neck, just stab the m—— f—– in the heart,” someone says off camera. Though the video is partially censored, the person filming seemingly shares McConnell’s home city and zip code as well.
McConnell’s campaign manager Kevin Golden criticized Twitter for allowing accusatory nicknames like ‘Massacre Mitch’ to trend nationally, while punishing @Team_Mitch for sharing threats against the McConnell. Golden said the campaign had appealed the account lock to Twitter, but the social media company said the account will remain locked until the video is manually deleted.
“Twitter locked our account for posting the video of real-world, violent threats made against Mitch McConnell. This is the problem with the speech police in America today,” Golden said in a statement sent to Business Insider. “The Lexington-Herald can attack Mitch with cartoon tombstones of his opponents. But we can’t mock it. Twitter will allow the words “Massacre Mitch” to trend nationally on their platform. But locks our account for posting actual threats against us.”
Twitter revealed a new enforcement policy for politicians and other influential users in June that labels tweets that are in violation of the platform’s policies instead of deleting them. However, that policy is only in place for Twitter accounts with 100,000 or more followers; @Team_Mitch only has 29,400. McConnell’s personal Twitter account, @Senatemajldr, has 954,200 followers and has not posted since Aug. 5.
The National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Parker Hamilton Poling has pledged not to advertise on Twitter until the Team_Mitch account is unlocked. According to the Associated Press, the committee had planned to spend between $300,000 and $500,000 on Twitter advertisements this month.