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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Human Rights Campaign Files FCC Complaint Over Unsolicited Anti-Gay Text Messages to Voters

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate mass spam texts that are taking aim at President Obama, marriage equality, and a number of other progressive issues. Recently, HRC supporters have received unsolicited anti-gay text messages such as: “Obama endorses the legality of same-sex marriage.  Say No to Obama at the polls on Nov 6.”  The Washington Post reports that the texts originated from ccAdvertising, a firm specializing in political phone and text outreach – and with a history of spamming cell phone users with unsolicited content. An image of one of the anti-Obama, anti-marriage equality messages ccAdvertising blasted out is available below. HRC’s letter to the FCC is available here.

Since many Americans pay for their text messages on an as-used basis, ccAdvertising is costing money to some cell phone users by spamming them with these unwanted messages.

It appears ccAdvertising tried to hide their identity on their website – a violation of the terms of service with their online host, GoDaddy. As a result, GoDaddy revoked ccAdvertising’s anonymity and their leading role in sending the text messages became clear. It remains to be seen who is funding the firm’s unsolicited anti-equality texts. The Washington Post reports that ccAdvertising’s chief operating officer is Republican Jason Flanary, who is currently running for Senate in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Other messages users reported receiving include: "Obama supports homosexuality and its radical social agenda. Say No to Obama on Nov 6!," "Obama denies protection to babies who survive abortions. Obama is just wrong," "Stop Obama from forcing gay marriage on the states. Your vote is your voice," and "Seniors cant afford to have 4 more years of Obama budget cuts to Medicare."

Sending these types of unsolicited spam messages is a blatant violation of Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which is what is prompting HRC’s call to the FCC to investigate further.

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