Mike Bloomberg's social media strategy is under fire as Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts for platform manipulation
- On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Twitter had suspended 70 accounts for violating its terms.
- The accounts in question were tweeting support for Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg in identical messages.
- Bloomberg's campaign has come under scrutiny for its unconventional tactics on social media, including paying influencers to post on behalf of the candidate and an edited video clip from Tuesday's debate that many called misleading.
- A Twitter spokesman told Business Insider that the accounts had violated the social media company's policies around platform manipulation because of the identical nature of the posts.
- Some of the suspensions are permanent while others will have to be verified before regaining posting access.
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On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Twitter was suspending 70 accounts for tweeting identical messages of support for Bloomberg for violating its rules against platform manipulation. Some accounts were permanently suspended, while others will need to be verified in order to regain posting abilities, a Twitter spokesman told Business Insider.
"We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam," the spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider.
The Los Angeles Times review of the accounts in question determined that many were using identical links, hashtags, and messages. Many accounts had only been created in the last 2 months, the report found.
The posts' copy-and-paste nature violated Twitter's Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy, which was created in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The policy prohibits accounts from artificially boosting engagement, among other practices. The Twitter spokesman said this instance, in particular, violated the policy's ban on "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."
On Wednesday, the Bloomberg campaign came under fire for sharing an edited video clip from the Democratic debates Tuesday in Nevada that many said were misleading. Facebook and Twitter both said the video was not against their policies and allowed the video to remain on the sites.
Bloomberg's campaign has invested heavily in promoting the candidate on social media, including hiring influencers and "deputy field organizers" to publish pro-Bloomberg content on personal accounts. According to the Los Angeles Times, deputy field organizers can make up to $2,500 per month to promote Bloomberg among their social circles online and offline. They are regularly provided pro-campaign messages to post, the report said.
"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," Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told Business Insider in an emailed statement. "Through Outvote content is shared by staffers and volunteers to their network of friends and family and was not intended to mislead anyone."
Outvote is an app for voter engagement and is used across the campaign's paid staff and volunteer base, Singh said. Anyone is able to access the app to share campaign-approved content.