Anti-Obama Text Messages
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Barack Obama Targeted By Anonymous Hate Text Messages [UPDATE]

    WASHINGTON -- A string of vitriol-laden text messages hit voters' phones Tuesday night, blasting President Barack Obama with anti-gay attacks and false claims.


    In what appeared to be a coordinated campaign of cell phone text mail or text messages, one Virginia voter received a message from the address sms@votegopett.com that made the inflammatory claim: "Obama supports homosexuality and its radical social agenda. Say No to Obama on Nov 6!"


    Mike Madden tweeted one from sms@informedett.com that declared, "Re-electing Obama puts Medicare at risk."
    Attorney Pater Saharko tweeted that he got a message from the same address that read: "Obama is using your tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood and abortion. Is that right?"


    New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman tweeted that his 13-year-old daughter also got a text. "Obama denies protection to babies who survive abortions. Obama is just wrong," said the message from sms@gopmessage.com.


    HuffPost's Sam Stein also got a message, declaring, "Seniors cant afford to have 4 more years of Obama budget cuts to Medicare."


    Some of the messages did not seem well-targeted.


    Jennifer Cyr tweeted that she got one from sms@obamaliesett.com that said: "Stop Obama from forcing gay marriage on the states. Your vote is your voice."


    Cyr used her voice and answered back, saying, "I'm gay, you f**king d**chebags."


    The Federal Communications Commission bans unsolicited text messages, but political operatives use a loophole: They send unsolicited emails to people's phones. The telephone companies interpret these as text messages and send them along. They also charge the recipient for the unwanted message if the receiver does not have a text messaging plan.


    The senders were all anonymous. A quick search for one -- votegopett -- found it was registered in February, with the owner information blocked.


    Scott Goodstein, a progressive online strategist with the group Revolution Messaging, said the texts "are coming from an email address."


    "It is not just random cell phone numbers," Goodstein said. "There is a company out of Northern Virginia that does this." He said the company data "matches right-leaning voters ... It registers a URL and you can't find out without a court order who owns the URL. And they send emails to your phone number via text messaging."

    Goodstein added, "It costs consumers money. It is disinformation and there is no source as to where it is coming from."


    UPDATE: 11:58 a.m. -- The culprit behind the texts appears to have lifted the veil of anonymity on its domain registrations, revealing itself as ccAdvertising, a firm that was accused on Halloween last year of a similar anti-Democratic stunt in several Virginia races, including one involving Republican state Senate candidate Jason Flanary.


    Flanary lost to Democratic state Sen. David W. Marsden.


    A Jason Flanary is listed as the technical contact in the newly revealed registrations, and Flanary is the chief operating officer of ccAdvertising, according to his bio posted by the Fairfax, Va., chamber of commerce.
    The firm and related companies have also been linked to similar incidents of political text spamming elsewhere.
    Flanary was not immediately available to discuss the latest stunt, his office said.


    UPDATE: 5:54 p.m. -- By late Wednesday, some conservative groups began distancing themselves from ccAdvertising, with Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform telling Roll Call that it was dumping the outfit because of the unsolicited texting.
    Whether you agree with the text messages or not, do you think that it's right for a company to send unsolicited political ads to consumers phones that the consumers may then have to pay for, depending on their plan? Also, is it a good or useful tool, since apparently the messages may go to anyone with a phone (including children?) Any other thoughts?
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    I think it is awful that they are using people's phones to send texts that they then have to pay for. I don't care if it was anti-Obama or anti-Romney. It is wrong and gross. I hate that it is targeting people under 18 too because what other messages could they be sending?

    I hate getting political ads in the mail...these would really peeve me.
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    As far as the content of the texts, I do not think they are a really out there POV. Aside from Obama not supporting homosexual rights, I have seen all of those statements at some point on my FB feed. (Yes, I am REALLY ready for the election to be over)

    I no longer have a land line, just a cell phone. But before when I did have a land line I received political calls ALL THE TIME. It was so irritating. It would be worse on a cell phone because you have to pay for those minutes. I think political calls should have to follow the same rules as the do not call list.

    Because we live in a Red state, we have not gotten much attention for the election. I have a friend though that lives in a battleground state and she told me she gets calls all day long.

    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict smsturner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica80 View Post
    I think it is awful that they are using people's phones to send texts that they then have to pay for. I don't care if it was anti-Obama or anti-Romney. It is wrong and gross. I hate that it is targeting people under 18 too because what other messages could they be sending?

    I hate getting political ads in the mail...these would really peeve me.
    AMEN. Very well put, i feel exactly the same way!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    I think political calls should have to follow the same rules as the do not call list.
    That would be perfect. And so true!!! They are soliciting just as much as any telemarketer!!
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    I think text messages should be the same as phone calls, if you have put your phone on the do not call list they shouldn't be able to text you either. I hate spam no matter the source.... phone, email or text.
    wlillie likes this.
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    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    I wholehearedly agree it's wrong. But it's not any worse than the unsolicited phone calls people are getting as they use up minutes too. I think if you want to campaign, the tv, purchased signs, and internet should be the only medium used. Personal mail, phone, and email should be off-limits because that takes their time and/or money for the consumer. Not OK.

    eta-That being said, the author of the article should rethink his terminology or should have put a text message that had a message of hate/vitriol. None of the ones (except the response one) were hateful.
    Last edited by wlillie; 11-01-2012 at 11:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wlillie View Post
    I wholehearedly agree it's wrong. But it's not any worse than the unsolicited phone calls people are getting as they use up minutes too. I think if you want to campaign, the tv, purchased signs, and internet should be the only medium used. Personal mail, phone, and email should be off-limits because that takes their time and/or money for the consumer. Not OK.

    eta-That being said, the author of the article should rethink his terminology or should have put a text message that had a message of hate/vitriol. None of the ones (except the response one) were hateful.

    I agree with you, except i don't think email really takes up much time or money. Slightly more than the others because you have to take the time to hit the delete button. It would be akin to getting crap in snail mail, and seeing as we get all sorts of spam both in the snail mail and in email, i don't see why campaign spam would be different.

    Although i rarely see campaign stuff in email. I wonder if its deemed ineffective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post

    Although i rarely see campaign stuff in email. I wonder if its deemed ineffective.
    Interesting. We have gotten several e-mails from Obama, Ryan, and Romney. DH was really annoyed that we somehow got on Obama's mailing list.

    I don't really mind e-mails. I just send them to the junk folder without reading them.

    ~Bonita~

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    I do mind!!!! I'm such a freak that I have to read them to see what they say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    Interesting. We have gotten several e-mails from Obama, Ryan, and Romney. DH was really annoyed that we somehow got on Obama's mailing list.

    I don't really mind e-mails. I just send them to the junk folder without reading them.
    These are direct from those campaigns? Or someone campaigning on their behalf? Interesting.

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