Congressman Steve Stockman (R., Texas) accused President Obama’s gun-control campaign of using Twitter bots to flood Republican lawmakers and give the illusion of widespread support for the president. “Obama’s anti-gun campaign is a fraud,” Stockman said. ”Obama’s supporters are panicking and willing to do anything to create the appearance of popular support, even if it means trying to defraud Congress.”
Last week, organizers told Obama supporters to tweet at their representatives with the message: “I’m 1 of the 92 percent of Americans who support universal background checks. #WeDemandAVote.” When Stockman reviewed the Twitter messages he received, he noticed that more than half were from what appeared to be spam accounts, such as the one below:
.@SteveStockmanUS I'm 1 of the 92 percent of Americans who support universal background checks. #WeDemandAVote
— Vera Awah Mwaka (@vsega2002) February 23, 2013
Stockman noticed that these “fake, computer-generated spambots” used the default Twitter avatar, had tweeted once (to Stockman), followed only a few people, and had one follower: Brad Schenck, Obama’s former digital strategist. Other GOP lawmakers, such as New York’s Michael Grimm and Illinois’s Adam Kinzinger, are being flooded with similar messages from seemingly fake accounts.
Stockman “call[ed] upon the president to denounce this phony spam campaign,” saying that the campaign is “trying to defraud Congress using the same scam that sells ‘male enhancement pills.’”