More dirty tricks by a desperate minority: The 2012 election taught conservatives that they are the minority, even on social media like Twitter and Facebook. While the Tea Party has started their own version of Facebook (tick tock — waiting for them to be sued for stealing the layout), their solution on Twitter has been to silence speech they don’t agree with by spam blocking en masse to get progressives suspended. Last weekend they got over a dozen accounts suspended.
“#TGDNexposed” was trending on Twitter after progressives uncovered the coordinated assault. Zach Green, Founder of UniteBlue.com, explained to Politicus how conservatives are trying to silence the speech of progressives using the hashtag #TGDN, “A group of conservatives organized under the hashtag #TGDN has been targeting progressive accounts with the intention of getting them suspended. They report progressive accounts as Spam, which is particularly effective against smaller accounts with few followers. We’re helping the Left find and follow one another so they are protected.”
Into this assault stepped #UniteBlue. Mr. Green described #UniteBlue in an interview with Politicus as “a watering hole for progressives to connect on Twitter. Our sole purpose is to connect the Left with the understanding we’re stronger together.” Unite Blue functions on Twitter as a list to protect progressive accounts from being suspended via conservative “spam blocks” by getting them more followers.
Zach warns progressives not to respond to trolling attempts by conservatives, “Do not respond. Twitter’s spam-block detects accounts trying to promote a product by @mentioning everyone. So if you reply, then they block, you are much more likely to be suspended. Same with following then being blocked. Simply avoid them.”
Unite Blue has been trending off and on over the past week, proving that with solidarity comes strength (same argument used for unions). Anyone who wants to join Unite Blue should tweet, “I want to join @UniteBlue” then follow other members on @UniteBlue lists. It may take a while to be added to the list because they vet everyone first.
Unite Blue does not engage in the same unfair tactics of spam-blocking people, and Zach warns that any progressive who spam blocks in return will be dropped from the list. The best way to respond to a troll is to simply ignore them and block them if you don’t want to read their tweets anymore.
Unite Blue also has an app for Twitter that will help progressives find interesting people to follow, and each person is hand vetted by the Unite Blue team. I gave the app a trial run and it’s streamlined and easy to use, plus it does not automatically tweet or follow without the user explicitly asking it to. Zach assured me that it won’t spam people “unless your cat gets on the keyboard.”
That could happen. I’m just saying.
Spam blocking in order to silence progressives is just another tactic of a minority trying to hijack the dialogue. Remember the death panel town halls of 2010? If they can’t win with messaging, they will resort to dirty tricks executed with the necessary belligerence of the minority.
Zach broke it down for Politicus readers, “The 2012 election showed progressives simply outnumber conservatives now. Republicans saw that, and their solution is to silence the Left. Make voting harder. Gerrymander districts. Rig the Electoral College. Spam-block and suspend accounts. UniteBlue will work to connect the Left on Twitter because we’re stronger together.”
The key to Unite Blue is solidarity among progressives, while refusing to engage in trolling behavior aimed at getting you suspended from twitter merely for being a progressive. There’s nothing that annoys conservatives more than a united left, as proven by their attempts to hijack the UniteBlue hashtag (which, I confess, is what got me interested in the hashtag to begin with, so thanks conservatives!).
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.