The rise of fake news – the kind written by trolls on social media who post things they know to be untrue, not the legitimate sources who anger Trump by reporting on the horrible things he says and does – are believed to have played a major role in the 2016 presidential campaign. While several social media platforms have decried the practice and vowed to take greater steps to prevent them from being circulated, Twitter actually took a stand on Monday.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) paid to promote a campaign video on Twitter, but found it shut down due to a violation of Twitter standards. In the video, Blackburn claimed to have “stopped the sale of baby body parts” by Planned Parenthood, but Twitter cited that as “inflammatory and ‘likely to evoke a strong negative reaction'” according to WKRN 2 News in Nashville, Tennessee.
Twitter responded to complaints about the removal of the video by requesting that the false claim be deleted.
‘A Twitter representative told Blackburn’s vendors that they would be allowed to run the rest of the video if the flagged statement is omitted.’
While the move offended right-wing media, who declared it an attack on Blackburn’s “pro-life stance,” the facts that debunk Blackburn’s claim cannot be denied. When Planned Parenthood was investigated following lawsuits brought against it by those outraged by a doctored video that claimed to prove the reproductive health organization was marketing body parts harvested from aborted fetuses, an investigation found that no such practice had ever been performed.
‘Despite all the worry, state investigations have yet to find any evidence that Planned Parenthood was selling or profiting off fetal tissue. Twelve states have completed investigations into Planned Parenthood following the videos’ release, according to the organization.’
In a surprising twist to that lawsuit, the grand jury who heard the case decided to levy 15 separate felony charges against the two “activists” from the Center for Medical Progress, the group who released the doctored, debunked video. While those charges were eventually dropped, the fact remains that the videos were found to have been altered and the claims were judged to be untrue.
Featured image screengrab via YouTube