Tweets for sale? There may be a daddy-warbucks in those tweet rooms

My friend and j-school classmate, Seth Hettena, who's no conservative, but who is a very good investigative reporter, has discovered something new and interesting about what's going on at Twitter:

Paid viral tweets from moneybags types with political agendas.

His tweet series can be read here:



Tweet rooms are not new. They were introduced in 2015, shortly before the election of President Trump, and normally, they are groups of political fanatics, either on the left, or the right. Politico did a story on this in 2017, and highlighted the Democrats' alarm, given that Trump supporters were apparently more effective at this than Democrats or establishment Republicans. 

Republicans can point to Ezra Klein's supposedly defunct JournoList as to who started it. JournoList, recall, was an email listserv of Democrat political operatives and mainstream media journalists who coordinated together on what the talking points would be on the issues of the day. The Tweet room phenomenon that followed sounds like the same thing that JournoList had been doing.

Now Hettena is hearing something new emerging from this tweet-room viral-tweet factory phenomenon:



Paid tweets, all creating the chimera that certain tweets are spontaneously viral, the voice of the people, the mood of the masses.

Well, no. Hettena reports that he's hearing about big names in Democrat politics being involved, through shell companies and cash is flowing. Wonder why they want to hide such things through shell companies?

Hettena also found evidence that the other side does it, too:



It certainly opens the gate toward undeclared campaign advertising and spending, if the tweets are "paid for" by a campaign or politician, or non-transparent PAC.



He found one character on the GOP side who seemed to be doing it, but he also heard that Democrats are doing it. He's undoubtedly looking into it, because it creates a whole different meaning for democracy if people are reading paid tweets and they don't know that they are reading paid tweets, the tweets are just disguised campaign spending.

One of his commentators claimed that this group was paid.



There's no proof of that, but if it turns out to be true, then it would be an indicator that someone is paying Democrats to tweet a certain "narrative," while hiding that fact from the public and the campaign finance regulators. Who is it? Is it a rich billionaire who is in a position to fling this kind of money around to pay tweeters to tweet his narratives? There wouldn't be any of those, would there?

That's wretched stuff, given the implications for free and fair elections. As Seth noted, he didn't know what Elon Musk thought of this, but given the potential for trouble for Twitter, it's likely we will find out.

Seth will likely report his findings soon and whatever he finds will be interesting. Are top political partisans and their moneybags donors manipulating viral tweets to create Democrat "narratives"? Does it mesh properly with campaign finance laws?

Someone is whispering into his ear that they are. When the facts are out, Musk, and the regulators, and the House, will have their hands full.

Image: Pixabay, via Wikimedia Commons / Pixabay License


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