- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Facebook lifted Tuesday its block on Republican Elizabeth Heng’s campaign ad, but the California congressional candidate said the company still owes her a public apology.

“I’m deeply disappointed that Facebook would not give me a public apology for targeting a conservative candidate for Congress,” she said in a statement. “It took them 5 days and an immense amount of pressure before they ‘realized’ that they deliberately blocked my history and my story.”

She received a message on Facebook last week saying that her ad, which contains scenes of the Cambodian genocide, violated the company’s policy against “shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence.”

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.

After a deluge of criticism on the right, a Facebook spokesperson said Tuesday that the ad had been cleared for distribution. 

“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.”

SEE ALSO: Elizabeth Heng campaign ad blocked by Facebook over Cambodian genocide images

Ms. Heng, who’s challenging Democratic Rep. Jim Costa for the Fresno-based congressional seat, has 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 a Tuesday interview with “Fox & Friends.”

“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.

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.”

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, Rep. Jim Costa, who has represented the Central Valley district for seven terms.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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