Google is refusing an ad buy from the Tennessee Republican Party for a YouTube video supporting Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).
A Fox News poll released late Wednesday shows that Blackburn is now leading her Democrat opponent, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, by nine points, 50 percent to 41 percent.
The Daily Caller News Foundation broke the story Wednesday morning:
Google Ads informed the Tennessee Republican Party Tuesday that its digital ads supporting Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s campaign, which included video footage of protestors interrupting her moment of silence for victims of the recent deadly mass shooting of a synagogue, were disapproved because they contained “shocking content.”
Google Ads, an online advertising platform, would not allow the Tennessee GOP to promote two videos for Blackburn’s Senate campaign as search ads because the content doesn’t meet Google’s standards, according to an email sent to the Tennessee GOP.
“Unfortunately, we won’t be able to show your ads on Google, our search partners, or on Display Network placements until you edit your ads or keywords to make them compliant with our policies,” the email, which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, reads.
“Google says it recently blocked two digital advertisements by the Tennessee Republican Party because they contained profanity and swearing, which is a violation of the company’s advertising policies,” WJHL reported:
Google’s disapproval of the ads has created controversy and sparked claims of censorship.
The video advertisements show clips of protesters interrupting a recent Marsha Blackburn campaign event in Nashville. At the end of the ads, viewers are encouraged to “stop the mob” and “vote Republican.”
One video is half a minute long, while the other is just 15 seconds.
“The Tennessee GOP uploaded the ads to YouTube, which is owned by Google, but were barred from promoting them as advertisements,” WJHL noted:
A party spokesperson says after Google disapproved the ads, they reached out to the Daily Caller, which then published a story accusing Google of censoring the Blackburn campaign and also accusing other social media companies of censoring conservative views.
“This is not our first trouble with Google this cycle,” Gillum Ferguson, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Republican Party, told WJHL in an emailed statement.
“We’ve had numerous instances earlier this year where Google would approve our Search Ads and then mysteriously disapprove them. They claimed it was a glitch, but we do not know of others this happened to, and given that this is a repeat occurrence we are naturally skeptical,” Ferguson added.
A Google spokesperson offered this response:
Our advertising policies prohibit ads that contain shocking content, including profanity or swearing. If an ad violates our policies, we remove it. We encourage advertisers to appeal if they feel their ad is mistakenly removed, and we are happy to work with advertisers to make sure their ads comply with our policies.
Google has apparently told the Tennessee Republican Party that it will reconsider running the ad if it makes certain adjustments, including obscuring the face of the protester using foul language.
The Tennessee Republican Party is considering its response.