Thursday, April 18, 2013

ATTN Obama Twitter Followers: It's Not From Obama

Barack Obama, the first sitting President with a Twitter account, has over 29 million Twitter followers, but do most of those fans realize that the account is no longer run by the President and his staff? Shortly after the recent election, Barack Obama's campaign handed over management of social media accounts, including Twitter and Facebook, to a newly formed entity called Organizing for Action, a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit. Like its conservative counterparts, such as Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, Organizing for Action (OFA) can't advocate or seek donations for a particular candidate, but it can independently advocate and raise funds for social issues and public policy, such as gun control legislation, or even causes not supported by President Obama in theory. Nonpartisan OFA should not to be confused, despite the similar initials, with Obama for America, the campaign organization that managed social media communications during Obama's first campaign, first term, and second run for office. It's all legal, but some may wonder about the gray areas introduced by political use of social media. Is it ethical to quietly hand over a valuable political online identity to a nonpartisan outside group? Is it ethical that @BarackObama Twitter followers may think they're hearing from the Oval Office when they are really getting messages from an independent nonprofit? For an in-depth discussion, see the recent story by Philip Bump for The Atlantic Wire at

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