Your Selection

   February, 2012

Political Text Message Spam Showing Up in the 2012 Presidential Election

New Form of Voter Suppression and Dirty Politics Clogging Up Cell phones in Michigan

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being targeted by the latest practice of voter suppression in the form of political text message spam. Progressive organization Revolution Messaging has been working to raise the awareness of this dangerous new tactic by calling on the Federal Communications Commission to put a stop to it.  Complaints are rolling in about these unsolicited text messages throughout Michigan, whose primary is this upcoming Tuesday. The text messages said “Romney’s Poor Comments” from an email address of a group that does not exist: michigan@westcoastrepublicans.com. The text message included a phone number that sent people to a recorded message attacking Romney. In addition to not being able to identify who these nefarious messages are actually from or be properly opted in to receiving these updates -  they actually cost the voter money because text messages are not free to the end-user in the U.S.

People took to Facebook and Twitter to complain about these spam messages, including Jackie Hall from Michigan who posted to a local Michigan television station’s Facebook page:

ABC12: Your Trusted Source! WJRT-TV

Really hoping you’ll cover these unwanted texts from 9897870163 (michigan@westcoastrepublicans.com). I received one at 10:30 last night, and am very upset by this kind of practice. It should be illegal.

Revolution Messaging has been working to expose this under-the-radar tactic used in Congressional Races in 2010 and then again in Virginia’s Legislative Campaigns in 2011.  The firm launched PocketSpammers.com, in early February, to raise awareness of this growing issue and to push the FCC to take a stance against this practice by closing any loopholes in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

“We’ve already seen runaway spending on campaigns this year,” said Scott Goodstein, founder of the firm. “We need for the FCC to assure people that unwanted & illegal text message spam will not be tolerated – period.”

Some corporations claim they have found a loophole in the (TCPA) that allows them to send unsolicited political text message spam to users’ cell phones with no opt-in or opt-out component. Under this act, the FCC has adopted regulations, which prohibit sending spam text messages.

It’s time for the FCC to end this illegal practice that hits voters right in the wallet. These text messages are sending an anonymous attack ad while costing voters money with an unwanted text message. This spam is timed perfectly for the opposition, sending an attack right before a primary election. The same tactic was seen in Colorado and the website WestCoastRepublicans.com was found to be registered by Domains by Proxy, an Arizona-based company helping people register for websites while protecting their identity.

People need to continue calling on the FCC to clarify that the ban on text messaging spam applies to ALL companies, including those who run Internet-to-phone text messaging programs.

Revolution Messaging is asking for help to push this message to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Robert McDowell, by signing the petition on PocketSpammers.com. This petition helps reinforce the one officially filed with the FCC on January 19th asking them to clearly define the text message regulations included in the TCPA.

This could be a costly 2012 election for voters if the FCC doesn’t stand up now and put an end to these unsolicited messages that are turning into a new form of voter suppression.

 


One Year Later…

On February 11, 2011, Scott Walker threatened the use of the Wisconsin National Guard in response to his push to strip all collective bargaining rights from state employees. Walker’s allies seeking to destroy hardworking Wisconsinites’ employee rights weren’t prepared for the response a few hours after the story first hit wires – a movement was born.

We have written about the images that inspired Wisconsin, but we thought it was fitting for the one-year anniversary of what started it all to re-visit the rapid-response effort we were privileged to work on with The New Media Firm. Shortly after Walker’s infamous threat, we worked together with many of our clients to launch NotMyWisconsin.com with ads targeting the microsite and promoting the hashtag #notmywi. But that was not the only domain name we were considering as the story was breaking. Others in the running were:

WalkerThreat.com

WalkersWisconsin.com

SaveUsFromWalker.com

KeepWisconsinTroopFree.com

GuardFromWalker.com

WisconsinDMZ.com

NotMyWisconsin.com topped the list and ended up taking off as a hard-hitting response to Walker’s National Guard threat. This site and original hashtag provided Wisconsinites an opportunity to easily relate to the issue and immediately join in on the fight to stop Walker’s dangerous bill. From this first campaign came the first email and SMS lists that served as the foundation of a grassroots effort to save Wisconsin from right-wing extremists.

Looking back at our old notes and emails from a year ago we find motivation to keep the fight for workers’ rights alive. We hope all of you on this one-year anniversary can do the same. The fight for social and economic justice is far from over. On Wisconsin!


Join the Revolution & Help Stop Political Text Message Spam

Revolution Messaging Files Petition to Federal Communications Commission to End Political Text Message Spam & Launches PocketSpammers.com

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Political text message spam is squarely in the sights of a new online petition calling on the Federal Communications Commission to stop the practice.

PocketSpammers.com, launched today by progressive organization Revolution Messaging, consists of a petition asking the FCC to end a new kind of voter suppression, which hits voters right in the wallet. Along with the petition, a short, fun video explains more about the issue and why people must take action today.

“We’ve already seen runaway spending on campaigns this year,” said Scott Goodstein, founder of the firm. “We need for the FCC to assure people that unwanted & illegal text message spam will not be tolerated – period.”

The firm says some corporations claim they have found a loophole in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that allows them to send unsolicited political text message spam to users’ cell phones with no opt-in or opt-out component. Under this act, the FCC has adopted regulations, which prohibit sending spam text messages. Revolution Messaging is calling on the FCC to clarify that no loopholes are available to these unscrupulous organizations and that the ban on text messaging spam applies to ALL companies, including those who run Internet-to-phone text messaging programs.

To push this message to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Robert McDowe, Revolution Messaging also filed a petition with the FCC on January 19th asking them to clearly define the text message regulations included in the TCPA.

Revolution Messaging took its first stance against this practice in November 2010 when an onslaught of illegal text message spam was used against Democratic congressional races. The organization documented the practice and developed a calling tool for people to call their attorney general’s office.

The illegal practice resurfaced in October 2011 when Revolution Messaging helped the Virginia Democratic Party in working to stop unwanted text message spam used as a new type of voter suppression tactic in Virginia State Senate races. This led to the petition the firm filed with the FCC on January 19th.

Revolution Messaging predicts a costly 2012 election for voters if the FCC doesn’t stand up now and put an end to these unsolicited messages that are turning into a new form of voter suppression tactics.

Contacts

Revolution Messaging
Rafael Noboa y Rivera, 202-455-4673