Twitter temporarily suspended Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines’s account for violations of the company’s sensitive media policy.
For several hours on Tuesday, Daines’ Twitter profile displayed messages indicating the account was “temporarily unavailable because it violates the Twitter Media Policy.”
According to an aide to the senator, Daines’ account was suspended due to his profile picture, which had shown 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 had determined the profile picture violated Twitter’s rule against “graphic violence or adult content in profile images.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Rachel Dumke, a spokesperson for Daine, called the suspension “preposterous” and said Twitter had informed Daines’ office that the suspension would last until the profile picture was removed.
“This is insane. Twitter should immediately reverse this suspension,” said Philip Letsou, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a statement.
According to an email sent by Twitter Trust and Safety VP Ella Irwin to Daines’ office and obtained by CNN, the company’s policy on graphic profile images exists due to a technical limitation of Twitter’s platform.
“We don’t allow images of dead animals or blood in profile photos because we are unable to label them as NSFW and keep them from being seen by users who specifically don’t want to see graphic images,” Irwin wrote.
Daines’ profile picture had included an animal showing what appeared to be small flecks of blood on its coat, and that were difficult to discern without expanding the image.
Addressing the situation on Tuesday, new Twitter owner Elon Musk said Twitter’s sensitive media policy was “being fixed.”
“Policy against showing blood in profile pic is being amended to ‘clearly showing blood without clicking on the profile pic’,” he tweeted. “The intent is to avoid people being forced to see gruesome profile pics.”
Dumke later told CNN on Tuesday that Musk personally reached out to Daines by phone and reinstated his account.