Press Room

October 31, 2012

Category: Election 2012, Marriage

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

ccAdvertising spams cell phone users with unsolicited anti-marriage equality and anti-Obama texts; tries unsuccessfully to cover their tracks

10/31/2012

Washington – 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.

“It’s unsurprising that our opponents are employing such underhanded tactics and trying to attack equality from behind shrouds of secrecy,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “HRC is filing a complaint with the FCC so that these types of organizations know there are consequences for their actions. It’s unacceptable to launch these types of despicable attacks from dark corners, and it’s incredibly irresponsible to send out unsolicited messages to people who have no desire to receive this type of vitriol.”

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.

Here is a screenshot of one of the texts an HRC member received:

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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