Twitter has reinstated the OpDesanitize account which publishes graphic photos from war zones the US is involved in — primarily Yemen.
The account’s goal is to raise awareness of the true costs of war and advocate for human rights.
After public outcry about the ban, Twitter apologized and claimed that they were not actually in violation of the Twitter rules — and that the whole thing was just a big mistake.
The suspension by Twitter of @OpDeSanitize, whose entire purpose was to help end a humanitarian crisis in Yemen by circulating images and stories from the brutal war, is shameful and exemplifies why we should be concerned about social media platforms editing political content. https://t.co/gQ4bG1NN6W
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 4, 2018
“After further review, we have unsuspended your account as it does not appear to be in violation of the Twitter rules,” the email began. “Your account is now unsuspended. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Amazing what a little social media pressure will do. We’re back everyone! Thank you for the support! pic.twitter.com/CT7HDpeaa3
— #OpDeSanitize (@opdesanitize) December 4, 2018
Upon being reinstated, the account tweeted, “from the looks of it, Twitter just gave us the green light to continue posting graphic photos from US engagements overseas. We will continue to fight to expose atrocities and call out those who do not.”
According to Walker Bragman, an independent journalist associated with the account, the suspension came after they sent a tweet questioning the Democratic Center for American Progress’ connections to the UAE.
The Center for American Progress was founded and led by John Podesta
It also comes during the week when Senate is expected to vote on a measure to end US involvement in Yemen.
How long before the Center for American Progress (an allegedly liberal think tank) cuts ties with the UAE? This is what the UAE is helping do to Yemen.
— #OpDeSanitize (@opdesanitize) December 2, 2018
Many of the photos that were tweeted from the account were published unedited by Paste Magazine in August. They show the absolute horrific brutality in Yemen.
In the post Vietnam era it is exceedingly rare for American media to publish uncensored, gory images of war that reflect poorly on current US foreign policy. Today, @PasteMagazine and I did just that to show readers what is really going on in Yemen. https://t.co/ZB3ugJuak1
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) August 24, 2018
“Despite their propensity to offend viewer sensibilities, these scenes are necessary for American audiences. Images have a unique power to humanize brutality—to connect terms like ‘civilian casualties’ and ‘collateral’ to faces across the globe belonging to people who, as it turns out, look an awful lot like us. Footage can sway public opinion and catalyze policy change by delivering us from our detachment and laying bare our egocentrism,” Bragman wrote in his powerful article accompanying the photos in Paste.
On Tuesday, the Senate will be voting on S.J. Res. 54, which would end U.S. support for the war in Yemen.
“I applaud the Senate for taking action today to ensure a long-overdue debate on the Senate floor over ending the United States’ unauthorized support for the devastating war in Yemen. With thousands upon thousands of innocent lives lost in Yemen, and millions living on the edge of famine, we must send a clear message that this is not what America stands for, and I welcome a robust debate on ending our involvement in the war, stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and restoring Congress’ voice in foreign policy,” Senator Rand Paul said in a statement about the vote.