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

Social media network says the users, some of which were banned, violated its rules against posting spam-like content

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks to supporters at a rally on February 20, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images/AFP)
Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks to supporters at a rally on February 20, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images/AFP)

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter said Friday it suspended 70 accounts for spam-like posts supporting Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg, whose campaign has hired hundreds of people to promote him on social media.

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

Some of the accounts are now banned while others can be reauthorized once the users behind them verify they are in control, Twitter said.

The Wall Street Journal revealed Wednesday that the billionaire former New York mayor has hired around 500 people in California at $2,500 a month to regularly post messages supporting him on social media and to send text messages to their friends.

The technique blurs the lines between political advertisement and promotion by ordinary activists on social media networks, which are grappling with how to handle political content and prevent abuse.

Twitter prohibits sending identical tweets from multiple accounts, as is often the case with spam, and “coordinating with or compensating others to engage in artificial engagement or amplification.”

It also bans creating “fake” engagement with “duplicative” content.

Illustrative: A Twitter office building in San Francisco, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The policies were triggered by Russia-backed accounts used in an effort to sway the outcome of the US presidential race in 2016.

Facebook is also planning a response to Bloomberg’s online campaign methods, according to US media.

People walk past a billboard paid for by Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg on the iconic Las Vegas Strip on February 21, 2020. (Mark Ralston/AFP)

Bloomberg has shattered the record for campaign advertising, spending a staggering $364.3 million and counting, ad tracker Advertising Analytics reported.

On Friday, the candidate mocked Donald Trump with a giant billboard on the Las Vegas Strip as the US president visited the city for a rally.

“Donald Trump lost the popular vote,” read one slogan, while another said “Donald Trump’s wall fell over.”

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