Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Schicke/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Political spam via calls, texts, emails and social media posts is rising, with more people looking to take advantage of minimal regulation and heightened interest around the midterms.

Why it matters: For years, people have complained about feeling inundated with political messaging during election seasons. But it's only getting worse now that new, unregulated technologies are being used more frequently by both campaigns and spam actors.

A barrage of news, campaign pitches and fundraising pushes around politics is coming from a multitude of sources, many of which are regulated in different ways.

  • Facebook said last week that it was purging over 800 political pages and accounts that have demonstrated dangerous spam-like behavior. Because there is no government regulation around social media, Facebook is now forced to manage the problem retroactively.
  • Calls with spam messages have also increased dramatically. Caller identification app Hiya says it measured a 3,250% increase in political spam calls between Q1 2017 and Q2 2018. In a blog post the company warned, "Callers that offer incentives to take campaign surveys should be seen as a red flag, especially when they request credit card information."
  • Email continues to be used liberally by campaigns that enjoy the luxury of minimal regulation. Most anti-spam laws only apply to commercial e-mail, not political e-mail. A recent report from The New York Times found that the Trump campaign is offering up millions of emails for rent to candidates, conservative groups and even businesses at a rate of $35 per 1,000 addresses."

Be smart: The biggest form of political spam this election cycle is text messaging — specifically peer-to-peer (P2P) texting. P2P texting has become the hottest way for political campaigners on both sides to increase voter engagement ahead of the midterms, mostly because P2P texting is not subject to the same regulations as automated texting.

  • In total, VICE reported this summer that four biggest peer-to-peer political texting firms (Hustle and Relay on the left, RumbleUp and Opn Sesame on the right) "have collectively sent 90 million texts for political groups since the 2016 election," according to the firms.

"With short code text messaging, there is no room for doubt. Users must opt-in and they can unsubscribe at any time, but P2P texting is different. There aren't as many rules and regulations governing PTP, a tactic that began in 2016 leading up to the general election, and it does seem like it's more prevalent this time around."

— Sean Carlson, Chief Strategy Officer, Revolution Messaging, a progressive digital agency in Washington DC

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.