Don’t Answer the Phone

Posted March 7, 2012 at 11:57pm

It’s getting to be that you can’t trust any communications platform. In an era now consumed with career-ending Twitter gaffes and Facebook-facilitated scandals, some political outlaws have elected to take the low-tech route: bombarding unsuspecting voters with text messages.

Revolution Messaging founder and CEO Scott Goodstein said he first noticed the flood of anonymous attack ads back in 2009. The trend escalated during the 2010 election cycle and continues to confound phone-toting citizens today.

It works like this: Covert alerts are blasted to the general public before a major vote, be it a primary or general election. Candidates are vilified. Non-media bundled folks get gouged by their plan provider. Or, as RM posits in a pithy promotional video, “You are being disenfranchised from political activity and you are paying for that privilege.”

The group culled complaints from infuriated Michiganders who were targeted in the runup to that state’s GOP primary last month. “I received one at 10:30 last night and am very upset by this kind of practice. It should be illegal,” one text receiver railed. The company fully expects to receive a fresh batch of gripes following this week’s Super Tuesday mayhem.

RM has formally petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to plug the loophole allowing cellphone spammers to skirt restrictions governing unwanted ads. Barring any changes, we’re all SOL in terms of SMS safeguards.