Team Mitch claims victory after Twitter unlocks McConnells campaign account
“Team Mitch” is back on Twitter.
The social media giant, which had locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account Wednesday after it posted a video of a profanity-filled protest outside his home in Kentucky, made the announcement Friday.
“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,” the social media’s communications account said. (An interstitial is a warning message.)
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.
The McConnell campaign posted a far less subdued response to the Twitter announcement.
“Victory,” the account tweeted. “Thank you to EVERYONE for helping #FreeMitch.”
The two-day Twitter tempest erupted after the company, citing its “threats policy,” hid the video and locked the account for posting the profane footage of the protesters, who were condemning McConnell’s refusal to allow the Republican-led Senate to consider bills passed by the Democratic-led House that seek to strengthen background checks for gun sales.
“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 representative said of the account freeze at the time.
McConnell’s campaign then accused Twitter of hypocrisy and criticized the “speech police in America.”
“Twitter locked our account for posting the video of real-world, violent threats made against Mitch McConnell,” campaign manager Kevin Golden said. “Twitter will allow the words ‘Massacre Mitch’ to trend nationally on their platform. But locks our account for posting actual threats against us.”
McConnell, who is running for re-election next year, was labeled by social media users as “Massacre Mitch” after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, for blocking gun control legislation.
In recent weeks, McConnell has also been dubbed “Moscow Mitch” by critics on the platform for blocking stronger election security measures after Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Golden celebrated the account’s restoration in a statement Friday.
“We are glad Twitter has reversed their decision to lock our Team Mitch account. It is still deeply concerning that Twitter would ban us from posting a video of threats made against us but allow Liberal Hollywood celebrities to post exactly what we did without suffering the same penalty,” Golden said.
Corky Siemaszko is a senior writer at NBC News Digital.