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Twitter suspends 70 pro-Michael Bloomberg accounts for ‘platform manipulation’

Twitter suspends 70 pro-Michael Bloomberg accounts for ‘platform manipulation’


Bloomberg’s campaign is focusing heavily on social media

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter announced Friday that it would suspend 70 accounts that posted content in support of Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, first reported by the Los Angeles Times

“We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Verge. 

The dozens of accounts suspensions handed down by Twitter Friday focus on pro-Bloomberg posts pushing out identical messages. According to the Times, some tweets included “A President is Born: Barbra Streisand sings Mike’s praises,” as part of the body of the message. It is in violation of Twitter’s rules to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversation through the use of multiple accounts” or compensating people to boost messages, “even if the people involved use only one account.”

The campaign encourages campaign employees identify themselves

Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and late-comer to the 2020 Democratic primary, has paid for a tsunami of ads on television and social media, spending over $1 million-a-day on Facebook alone. Some have been more traditionally placed through ad tools provided by Facebook and Google, but the Bloomberg campaign has also ventured into paying individual people and influencers for sponsored posts. 

As part of this strategy, the Bloomberg campaign has hired hundreds of people in California to flood Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with positive messages about the former mayor and his campaign. By posting these messages, people can earn $2,500 a month

Responding to the suspensions, Bloomberg spokesperson Sabrina Singh told The Verge that the campaign encourages campaign employees “identify themselves as working on behalf of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign on their social media accounts.” Singh continued, “Through Outvote [a voter canvassing app] content is shared by staffers and volunteers to their network of friends and family and was not intended to mislead anyone.”