The daughter of Cambodian refugees who survived Pol Pot’s killing fields had a video advert for her campaign bid for the U.S. Congress as a Republican blocked on Twitter and Facebook.
Eventually, both social media giants reversed their decisions, but it took a barrage of public criticism and bad press to help prod them to do so.
The social media platforms’ removal of 33-year-old Elizabeth Heng’s campaign video (which you can watch above) was done because it contained historical images related to Khmer Rouge terror.
“Facebook rejected my video because it was ‘too shocking’ for their platform, referring to the scenes of horrific events my parents survived in Cambodia. Facebook, do you think it’s right to censor history?” she wrote via Twitter on August 4.
The Facebook veto was put in place for five days until it was reversed. Facebook told National Review: “Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story. We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.”
But then Twitter described Heng’s video as obscene and blocked it on August 16.
“Again my family’s story has been censored on social media, and again they have had to reverse that decision. Enough is enough! With a campaign to run we should not have to fight these tech giants just to allow my ad to be seen,” Heng tweeted on the same day the ban was put in place.
“Who at Twitter can help me fix this censorship? The Cambodian Genocide is not ‘obscene.’ Please don’t make me go through this again like @Facebook. I need to focus on the issues that matter,” she said.
Media reported Twitter reversed its decision on August 18.
“Upon further review of the ad, we feel that the imagery that violated the inappropriate content policy is fleeting enough, particularly given the overall tone and intention of the video,” said a Twitter spokesperson, reported The Hill.
The ban of Heng’s video came at a time when left-leaning social media giants have been accused of censoring conservative voices. A point that Heng brought up in some of her tweets.
“In the past few weeks Facebook and Twitter have been called out by conservatives for deliberately shutting down conservative voices as evidenced in multiple cases,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the tech companies are holding all of the power and have no apparent desire to correct biased censorship of their platforms. When I’m elected I’ll fight for internet transparency, so that every American has a chance to be heard.”
Heng, from Fresno, is a candidate for California Congressional District 16.
It has been such a busy week that I was thrilled to have time to see my parents at their grocery store! Their story of overcoming great adversity inspires me in all my pursuits. I cannot thank them enough for being so supportive of our video sharing their story. pic.twitter.com/vNK5lW3gao
— Elizabeth Heng (@ElizabethHeng) August 9, 2018