Senator Daines’ Twitter account suspended after posting profile picture of himself hunting
Twitter has temporarily suspended the account of Republican Montana Senator Steve Daines for violating the company’s sensitive media policy.
For several hours on Tuesday, Daines’ Twitter profile displayed messages saying the account was “temporarily unavailable as it violates Twitter’s media policy.”
According to an aide to the senator, Daines’ account was suspended because of his profile picture, which showed Daines and his wife posing while hunting. A separate campaign account for Daines with a different profile picture was unaffected.
A message from Twitter notifying Daines of his suspension, obtained by CNN, showed the company determined the profile picture violated Twitter’s rule against “graphic violence or adult content in profile pictures.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Rachel Dumke, a spokesperson for Daine, called the suspension “absurd” and said Twitter informed Daines’ office that the suspension would last until the profile picture was removed.
“This is insane. Twitter should immediately rescind this suspension,” Philip Letsou, spokesman for the Republican National Senate Committee, said in a statement.
According to an email sent by Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, to Daines’ office and obtained by CNN, the company’s policy on graphic profile pictures exists because of a technical limitation of the Twitter platform.
“We don’t allow images of dead animals or blood in profile pictures because we can’t tag them as NSFW and prevent them from being seen by users who specifically don’t want to see graphic images” , wrote Irwin.
Daines’ profile photo included an animal showing what appeared to be small spots of blood on its coat, which were difficult to discern without zooming in on the image.
Addressing the situation on Tuesday, new Twitter owner Elon Musk said Twitter’s sensitive media policy was “being corrected.”
“The no showing blood in profile picture policy is changed to ‘Clearly show blood without clicking on profile picture,'” he tweeted. “The intention is to prevent people from being forced to see horrible profile pictures.”
Dumke then told CNN on Tuesday that Musk personally contacted Daines by phone and reinstated his account.