Twitter on Friday unlocked the campaign page for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — one day after prominent Republican groups threatened to halt Twitter ad spending unless the "Team Mitch" account was restored.
What's the background?
The social media giant suspended the McConnell campaign account Wednesday over a video showing leftists protesting in front of the senator's home in Louisville, Kentucky, over the weekend — and calling for his death.
"Just stab the motherf***er in the heart, please," one protester was heard saying in the clip.
Twitter said the video violated its violent threats policy, "specifically threats involving physical safety," according to the New York Post. The campaign argued the video demonstrated what kind of protesters McConnell is facing, the Hill said, but Twitter said it wouldn't unlock the Team Mitch account until the video was taken down.
With that, GOP groups — including President Donald Trump's reelection campaign, the Republican National Committee, and the House and Senate GOP campaign arms — on Thursday said no more Twitter ad buys until the account is restored.
Change of heart
Twitter confirmed to The Hill that the Team Mitch account was unlocked Friday: "After multiple appeals from affected users and Leader McConnell's team confirming their intent to highlight the threats for public discussion, we have reviewed this case more closely," Twitter said in a statement, the outlet reported.
In addition, Twitter said the video now will be available alongside a "sensitive media" warning "and only in cases where the Tweet content does not otherwise violate the Twitter Rules," the Hill added.
Indeed the clip was back up Friday as part of the Team Mitch post. (Content warning: Language):
Last night, an angry left-wing mob of Amy McGrath supporters stormed Senator McConnell’s Louisville home screaming… https://t.co/LpY6E5O5pT— Team Mitch (@Team Mitch) 1565106796.0
How did Team Mitch react?
Team Mitch celebrated the account unlocking with the following post Friday:
Victory!!! Thank you to EVERYONE for helping #FreeMitch. Help us keep winning: https://t.co/u56exRnfKv https://t.co/7Y28QdkrKv— Team Mitch (@Team Mitch) 1565368499.0
"Victory!!!" the post read. "Thank you to EVERYONE for helping #FreeMitch." A campaign donation link was included, along with a GIF of the famed moment in "The Shawshank Redemption" when Tim Robbins' character finally escaped from the prison — with McConnell's smiling face superimposed.
Republicans called out Twitter for bias against conservatives amid their threat of boycotting ad purchases.
Parker Hamilton Poling, the National Republican Congressional Committee's executive director, tweeted that "we will stand firmly with our friends against anti-conservative bias."
Jesse Hunt, National Republican Senate Committee communications director, said "Twitter's hostile actions toward Leader McConnell's campaign are outrageous, and we will not tolerate it. ... We will not spend our resources on a platform that silences conservatives," the Post reported.