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Twitter suspends 70 accounts linked to Bloomberg campaign over spam

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as photographed in 2009. (Photo: Azi Paybarah/Flickr Creative Commons)

Around 70 Twitter accounts linked to the presidential candidate of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg have been suspended over alleged violations of the platform’s anti-spam rules, according to a report.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times said a Twitter spokesperson confirmed the account suspensions, saying they were removed for “violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam.”

The accounts purportedly belonged to field campaign organizers who were paid around $2,500 a month to encourage friends and family members to push pro-Bloomberg talking points on their social media accounts, including Twitter.

Though the talking points were more guidance than directives, the accounts often included them word-for-word, which resulted in multiple accounts tweeting identical pro-Bloomberg messaging over a relatively short period of time.

The suspensions were prompted by an Times investigation that reviewed hundreds of accounts linked to the Bloomberg campaign. Only 70 profiles were suspended, and Twitter said in some cases the accounts would be reinstated if the campaign acknowledges they have control over them.

Other account suspensions will be permanent. It was not immediately clear what the determining factor was between the accounts eligible for reinstatement and the ones that would be permanently banned from the platform.

In a statement issued over the weekend, a Bloomberg campaign spokesperson said campaign field organizers were required to “identify themselves as working on behalf of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign on their social media accounts.”

The spokesperson said an affiliated social media engagement app used by the campaign was intended to help field organizers share content across their network “and was not intended to mislead anyone.”


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).