Twitter suspended several pro-Michael Bloomberg accounts from its platform, the company announced late on Friday.
The social media giant temporarily suspended some and outright banned other accounts because they violated the platform’s policies against spam and manipulation. A person familiar with the action said the accounts specifically breached a policy against artificial amplification of content through the use of multiple accounts.
“We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
The Washington Examiner reported that Twitter suspended a total of 70 accounts.
The Bloomberg campaign told The Epoch Times in an email that its staffers use an app called Outvote to share the campaign’s message with friends and family.
“We ask that all of our deputy field organizers identify themselves as working on behalf of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign on their social media accounts,” Twitter campaign spokeswoman Sabrina Singh wrote in an email.
The Bloomberg campaign has hired an army of people in California to post on their social media accounts in support of Bloomberg, according to the Wall Street Journal. These employees receive $2,500 a month to carry out standard campaign duties and send out pre-approved messages on social media.
A review of several accounts by the Los Angeles Times found a number of accounts using identical text, hashtags, and images.
Bloomberg announced his candidacy on Nov. 24. The billionaire former New York City mayor has spent more than $400 million on the campaign since. He received little support in polls in December, but began to surge at the turn of the year and is currently in third place, according to an average of national polls maintained by Real Clear Politics.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads the Real Clear Politics chart with an average of 28.7 percent support. Former Vice President Joe Biden trails Sanders by a wide margin at 17.3 percent. Biden had led in national polling for 14 months before a steady decline in polls which began in late January. Bloomberg is in third place with 15.2 percent.
Bloomberg’s social media operation is part of a well-financed campaign that has experimented with new ways of reaching voters on social media, including paying $150 to “micro-influencers” to post messages of support on social media.
Bloomberg’s campaign reported spending $220 million in the month of January alone. Forty-five million of that went toward digital advertising; another $126 million was spent on TV.
Payroll in January for his legions of staffers, who are paid above market-rate salaries, was $7.7 million, while corporate housing for many staffers cost an additional $1.2 million. Rent for his more than 100 campaign offices cost $1.3 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.