Congressman alleges Twitter spam used to back gun control

Steve Stockman says 10 of the 16 Twitter messages he received with the hashtag "WeDemandAVote" came from seemingly fake accounts.

Republican Rep. Steve Stockman is accusing the supporters of President Barack Obama's anti-gun violence campaign of creating fake people on Twitter to post spam messages in support of stricter gun-control regulations.

"Obama’s anti-gun campaign is a fraud. Obama's anti-gun activists are trying to defraud Congress using the same scam that sells 'male enhancement pills,'" the Texas congressman said Monday in a statement.

Stockman, a strong gun-rights supporter, said a study of tweets he received revealed two-thirds of the "grassroots supporters" backing Obama’s #WeDemandAVote campaign are computer-generated spambots — automated computer programs that crawl the Internet and send unsolicited emails and messages.

The White House did not immediately return a call and email from MSN News for comment on Tuesday.

Stockman said his campaign Twitter account received 16 tweets after Obama recently urged constituents to contact their congressional representatives and demand a vote on new anti-gun violence measures.

Stockman said an examination of the senders’ accounts reveal only six are actual people. The other 10 are fake, he said.

The Texas congressman said the fake accounts (like the one he cited below) all use the default "egg" avatar, have names resembling those automatically suggested by Twitter, have engaged in no human interaction and "follow mostly MSNBC anchors or media outlets, not actual people."

Gun rights: Rep. Steve Stockman says Twitter messages like this one appear to come from a fake person. IMAGETwitter

Other observers have noted the accounts have no followers or only one (Brad Schenck, a former digital strategist for Obama), follow no one and have tweeted just once. They said many of the profiles appear to have been created less than 48 hours before the online campaign began. Other GOP lawmakers, including New York’s Michael Grimm and Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, have been the recipient of similar messages from seemingly fake accounts on Twitter, National Review reported.

"I call upon the president to denounce this phony spam campaign," said Stockman, "and to release all internal White House communications regarding his anti-gun political campaign."

Related: NRA uses DOJ memo in ads against Obama gun control plans

The debate over gun rights has become increasingly heated in the aftermath of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.

In his State of the Union address last month, Obama called for Congress to allow an up-or-down vote on a variety of gun-control proposals, including universal background checks and a ban on high-powered assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.


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