Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg 'spam' accounts

Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg 'spam' accounts
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Twitter announced Friday that it is suspending 70 accounts that posted content supporting Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, saying the messages violated its company rules. 

Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has launched an expansive social media campaign to buoy his White House bid. One prong of the strategy involves hiring temporary employees to launch an array of Twitter accounts that post identical messages, a tactic the social media site said amounted to spam and "platform manipulation."

“We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam,” a Twitter official told The Hill regarding the suspensions, which were first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

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Bloomberg, who is worth upwards of $60 billion, launched his presidential campaign in November, several months after his 2020 competitors. To make up ground, the former mayor has spent hundreds of millions of his own money on a national advertising blitz and a social media push to gin up support for his campaign. 

The temporary employees recruited by Bloomberg’s camp are given the title “deputy field organizer” and make $2,500 a month to promote his White House bid among their followers. The employees can choose to use campaign-approved language in their posts.

Twitter said the practice violated its “Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy,” which was established in 2019 to respond to Russia’s expansive troll network that was tapped in 2016 to meddle in the U.S. elections. 

Twitter said the accounts, many of which copied and pasted content, violated its rules against “creating multiple accounts to post duplicative content,” “posting identical or substantially similar Tweets or hashtags from multiple accounts you operate” and “coordinating with or compensating others to engage in artificial engagement or amplification, even if the people involved use only one account.” 

The Bloomberg campaign maintained that none of the content it spreads on social media is intended to mislead anyone and that it makes it transparent who online works for the campaign.

“We ask that all of our deputy field organizers identify themselves as working on behalf of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign on their social media accounts. Through Outvote content is shared by staffers and volunteers to their network of friends and family and was not intended to mislead anyone,” Sabrina Singh, a campaign spokesperson, told The Hill, referencing the organizing app that casts itself as a tool to "[amplify] the national discussion."