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Hillary-supporting super PAC invests $1 million to hit back at online Clinton critics

Hillary-supporting super PAC invests $1 million to hit back at online Clinton critics

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Correct the Record, a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton's bid to become US president, has promised to invest more than $1 million to respond to users criticizing its candidate on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and other social media services. The super PAC says its new "Barrier Breakers digital task force" will to respond "quickly and forcefully to negative attacks and false narratives found online," in addition to thanking major supporters and "committed superdelegates" directly.

In a press release, Correct the Record said its new initiative was inspired by interactions with Bernie Sanders supporters. So-called "Bernie Bros" have become a phenomenon online, sharing their chosen candidate's videos, pictures, and memes across social media services. Hillary Clinton's supporters appear to be quieter on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the like, but Correct the Record said that this doesn't reflect a lack of enthusiasm — rather, that they were often afraid to speak up about their choice because they fear harassment. "Many of Hillary Clinton's female supporters in particular," the press release reads, "have been subject to intense cyber-bullying and sexist attacks from swarms of anonymous attackers."

Correct the Record says it learned from "Bernie Bros"

Super PACS like Correct the Record can raise and spend unlimited funds for their chosen candidate, but are technically banned from co-ordinating with their campaign, as their official name — "independent-expenditure only committees" — denotes. But Libby Watson of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan advocate for more transparent government, has noted that Correct the Record could use a loophole in these rules to communicate directly with Clinton's campaign. "It's not totally clear what their reasoning is," Watson tells The Daily Beast. "But it seems to be that material posted on the Internet for free — €”like, blogs — ”doesn't count as an ‘independent expenditure." Writing last year, Watson specified that the FEC "only regulates Internet activity when it is communication placed on another person's website for a fee."

The task force says it will attempt to sway the internet's legion of Sanders supporters to Hillary's side as the election draws closer. Behind that effort will be people from a variety of backgrounds, including former reporters, PR specialists, designers, bloggers, and other "Hillary super fans." The new investment will see more of Hillary's critics addressed directly in the future, but the super PAC says it's already taken 5,000 individuals to task over their personal attacks on their candidate, an effort noted by one Reddit user who said a deluge of replies on a disparaging post from pro-Hillary users turned their inbox "to cancer" this week.