The Twitter account for Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign was locked after it posted videos of what it described as “violent threats” against the top Senate GOP leader by protesters outside his home Monday in Louisville, Ky.
The temporary suspension, which the company confirmed, comes as President Trump ramps up criticism of social media for its alleged anti-conservative bias, while offering little evidence.
“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.”
The company said in a statement that the lockout 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 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’ previous efforts to shut down abusive rhetoric have prompted criticism from political accounts, often on the right, that they were being silenced. Last month, Trump said the U.S. government should sue Facebook and Google for unspecified wrongdoing.
Social media platforms reject the notion that they engage in political censorship, although they have admitted to mistaken actions that affected prominent politicians.
The 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.