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Facebook lifts block on California Republican Elizabeth Heng’s campaign ad

August 7, 2018

A Facebook spokesperson said Tuesday that the company has lifted its block on California Republican Elizabeth Heng’s campaign ad showing photos of the Cambodian genocide.

“Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story,” said Facebook in an email to the Washington Times. “We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.”

Ms. Heng received a message from Facebook last week saying that the ad violated the company’s policy against “shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence.”

It’s unbelievable that @facebook could have such a blatant disregard for the history that many people, including my own parents, have lived through. I’m sure it is “shocking” for people to hear about this kind of injustice, but this is reality. Full ad: https://t.co/SY0w1o327m Elizabeth Heng (@ElizabethHeng) August 4, 2018

Facebook’s policy on paid advertising is stricter than its rules governing regular posts, but critics argued that the 40-year-old black-and-white images of skulls and corpses were essential to her story about how her parents escaped the communist Khmer Rouge.

Ms. Heng, who’s challenging Democratic Rep. Jim Costa for the Fresno-based congressional seat, accused Facebook of bias against conservative candidates.

“We constantly see how liberal tech giants time and time again, they target conservative voices,” said Ms. Heng in an interview posted Tuesday on Fox News.

“Facebook still cannot deny that the algorithms favor liberal messages and often reward individual such as Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and individuals such as my opponent, Jim Costa,” she said.

The Heng campaign did not return immediately a request for comment Tuesday on Facebook’s about-face.

Among those who came to Ms. Heng’s defense was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who tweeted, “Her family survived the Communist genocide in Cambodia and came to America. Now Facebook is blocking her story.”

.@ElizabethHeng is a Republican woman. Her family survived the Communist genocide in Cambodia and came to America. Now Facebook is blocking her story. #StopTheBias https://t.co/gydYw3kwzD Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 6, 2018

Ms. Heng had a strong showing in California’s top-two primary on June 5, taking 47 percent of the vote behind the Democratic incumbent, Mr. Costa, who has represented the Central Valley district for seven terms.

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