For a second time, Instagram blocked a new children’s book from Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn and her daughter, Mary Morgan Ketchel from being promoted on the platform just days before its Tuesday release date.
Late Wednesday night, Ketchel was barred from advertising the book titled, “Camila Can Vote: Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote” on her personal Instagram to celebrate its climb to a number one release on Amazon in the category for Children’s 1900s American Historical Fiction.
While the completely apolitical book tells the story of Tennessee’s roll 100 years ago in ratifying the 19th Amendment to grant women’s suffrage through the lens of a little girl’s trip to a museum, its sponsorship was blocked by the social media giant over having the potential to “influence the outcome of an election.”
“Your promotion was not approved,” read a pop-up on Ketchel’s phone in a screenshot exclusively shared with The Federalist. “Your ad may have been rejected if it mentions politicians, topics that could influence the outcome of an election, or existing proposed legislation.”
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Ketchel immediately filed an appeal with the company owned by Facebook explaining “this is a children’s book celebrating women’s right to vote.”
Upon further review following a Federalist inquiry, a company spokesperson said the ad was not a violation, and that it is “taking steps to hopefully prevent another instance of this.”
“It’s not a political campaign, it’s a children’s book,” Ketchel told The Federalist.
Instagram first blocked the book from being advertised on her personal account citing the same reason in May after twice denying Ketchel’s appeals. The company only allowed the book to be advertised after the censorship became public from Federalist reporting, where a company spokesperson said the online platform’s restrictions on its advertising were made in error even after denying Ketchel’s requests multiple times.
“We have policies in place to ensure ads transparency around political ads and given the senator was a co-author it’s reasonable it was flagged but upon review, political ads authorization is not necessary,” the company wrote in a May email to The Federalist.
Following the first round of censorship on Ketchel’s personal account, Facebook approached Blackburn’s office offering instructions on registering her profile as a political group or influencer as if she were operating as a political action committee or campaign in order to freely promote the upcoming book on children’s historical fiction teaching kids the story on women’s right to vote.
“Which is not me,” Ketchel said. “I’m a mom, I’m a blogger, and now I’m a children’s book author… I am not a political group.”
Ketchel emphasized her reluctance to pursue the process of registering her account as an official political entity citing big tech censorship of ramped up in recent weeks disproportionately targeting conservatives.
“I am not going to go through a process to identify myself as a political group and open myself up to this kind of targeting for as long as I should have a social media presence,” Ketchel said.
The book’s co-author has good reason to worry considering recent episodes involving Silicon Valley tech giants wielding their unchecked power over the 21st century digital public square to suppress conservative speech online, including past attempts to de-platform her mother.
In 2017, Twitter ripped down a Blackburn campaign ad early on in her Senate race it deemed “inflammatory” while she was still serving in the House.
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) October 9, 2017
Twitter reinstated the video the next day following conservative backlash highlighting the platform’s selective censorship.
“After further review, we have made the decision to allow the content in question from Rep. Blackburn’s campaign ad to be promoted on our ads platform,” Twitter said in a statement to Recode at the time. “While we initially determined that a small portion of the video used potentially inflammatory language, after considering the ad in the context of the entire message, we believe that there is room to define our policies around these issues.”
Just two weeks ago, Google was exposed threatening to demonetize The Federalist over content in its comments sections. Google meanwhile, is the same company that owns YouTube which is notorious for is nefarious comments littered throughout the website.
The attempt to de-platform the conservative website by the world’s largest search engine, which came from an NBC report compiled in collusion with a foreign entity complaining about Federalist riot coverage prompted higher scrutiny among Washington lawmakers, including new regulations pushed by the Department of Justice and congressional inquiries.
Blackburn, a long-time proponent of breaking up the all-mighty California tech companies who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Tech Task Force also sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr urging the Justice Department to examine Google’ monopoly power over search in its ongoing antitrust investigation that some say is being overlooked.
We can’t let Google get away with anticompetitive conduct or bully competitors and consumers into submission.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) June 17, 2020
The latest censorship of Blackburn’s book adds to the growing continuum of big tech censorship plaguing the modern digital square, with the most recent blockage of a senator’s book teaching children history coming at a time that radical progressives are attempting a radical rewrite in an all-encompassing 21st century cultural revolution.
“Obviously, big tech is fearful of children learning about conservative women who fought for 72 years to achieve the right to vote,” Blackburn told The Federalist.