It looks like people with no real interest in Bloomberg are signing up to be grassroots campaigners because he pays $2,500 a month

It looks like people with no real interest in Bloomberg are signing up to be grassroots campaigners because he pays $2,500 a month
It looks like people with no real interest in Bloomberg are signing up to be grassroots campaigners because he pays $2,500 a month  

  • Mike Bloomberg's efforts to take social media by storm by paying people to post about him may not be working out, according to the LA Times.

  • Several California-based operatives told the paper anonymously that they mainly signed up to campaign because of the $2,500 a month on offer.

  • One was a Bernie Sanders supporter who followed up a campaign text to a friend saying: "Please disregard, vote Bernie or Warren."

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


More than 500 social media campaigners in California are being offered $2,500 a month to spread Mike Bloomberg's message as "deputy field operatives."

However, according to a report by the LA Times, being offered a small slice of the candidate's vast personal fortune is not ensuring their dedication or loyalty.

The newly-formed army has been tasked with spending 20 to 30 hours a week on text messages, phone calls, and social media posts aimed at leveraging their personal networks to secure Bloomberg victory in California's Democratic primary.

But four out of the five Bloomberg operatives who spoke anonymously to the LA Times said that their primary motivation for joining Bloomberg's campaign was for the money.

Mike Blake/Reuters

One was actually a Bernie Sanders supporter, reported the newspaper, followed up one pro-Bloomberg text message to a friend with: "Please disregard, vote Bernie or Warren."

Although the job advert asks for "an unflappable commitment" to getting Bloomberg elected, a campaign aide admitted to the LA Times: "The only thing that was taken into account was whether applicants had social media accounts and knew how to use them."

This may account for the lukewarm efforts reported from operatives. One told the paper that when she began, most of her friends assumed her account had been hacked. Another, posting on Instagram, received at time of publication two likes and the comment: "I hope you're at least getting paid for this lol."

Bloomberg's push to hire hundreds of social media campaigners was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The outlet highlighted that by paying the operatives to post campaign messages to their personal social networks, he was delving into a confusing Facebook gray area.

Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

While campaigns have long paid people to make phone calls and knock on doors, the Journal was told by academics that leveraging personal social media networks at scale blurred the lines between political advertising and grassroots support.

"It's classic AstroTurf tactics," James Thurber, professor of government at American University, told the paper. Astroturf is a punning way to refer to "grassroots" campaigns which are in fact fake.

A spokesperson for the Bloomberg campaign, Sabrina Singh, told the LA Times that the campaign's goal was to meet voters on all platforms.

Although the job description asks the campaign operatives to be clear that they are being paid in their posts, not all did, reported the LA Times.

Singh told the LA Times on Friday that campaign operatives have now been told to make their role clear in their social media profiles.


After the Wall Street Journal report, things got worse for the campaign when Twitter, which has stricter rules on the political use of its platform, suspended 70 accounts connected to Bloomberg's campaign for "platform manipulation and spam."

Several Twitter users posted an identical tweet, which, according to the LA Times was copied and pasted from campaign material. It said: "A President Is Born: Barbra Streisand sings Mike's praises. Check out her tweet."

As well as earning a Twitter ban, the phrase cropped up again in tweets apparently mocking the effort.

An account temporarily renamed "Turd Ferguson - memeing for Mike Money" posted the phrase with a picture marked "Bloomberg 2020" and depicting dollar bills with the candidate's face on them, being thrown out of a helicopter.

Bloomberg has spent more than $409 million of his own cash on the campaign, according to the Associated Press.

  • Read more:

  • Mike Bloomberg's social media strategy is under fire as Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts for platform manipulation

  • Mike Bloomberg is going after Trump with billboards mocking him for eating burnt steak and cheating at golf

  • Billionaire Mike Bloomberg is looking to pay micro-influencers to make sponsored content for his presidential campaign

  • Republicans, Democrats, and pundits from all sides tore Mike Bloomberg apart after a dismal performance at his first debate

Business Insider


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