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Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign is paying hundreds of Californians to regularly post endorsements about the billionaire on their personal social media accounts and send positive text messages to friends about the candidate on a regular basis, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The effort, which could cost millions of dollars, comes just weeks before California's March 3 primary and is one more tactic in the campaign's broader social media strategy, which includes paying meme influencers on Instagram.

Details: The campaign has hired at least 500 "deputy digital organizers” to promote Bloomberg through daily social media posts and weekly texts to the entirety of their contact lists. The staffers are expected to work 20–30 hours a week for $2,500 a month, according to documents reviewed by WSJ.

  • One prompt encourages the digital organizers to promote the candidate's support for same-sex marriage by writing: “The Fight for Equal Rights Has Been One of the Great Fights of Mike's Life."
  • Applicants must provide the campaign with their social media handles and make themselves available for phone banking as well.
  • The campaign is using the app Outvote, which helps users send pre-written texts, upload campaign materials on social media and send data back to the campaign.

Yes, but: It is unclear whether the digital organizers would need to label Facebook posts as sponsored content per Facebook's disclosure rules.

  • A Facebook spokesperson told WSJ that posts by "content creators" would require labels if a campaign paid for them, but posts from campaign employees do not need ad labels.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Sara Fischer: The strategy highlights an ongoing debate in this election — how platforms and regulators should regulate branded content advertising or advertising that's designed to be more ambiguous to consumers than traditional ads.

  • Facebook recently adjusted its policies to account for this ambiguity, saying that politicians that pay for branded posts will have their paid posts archived in Facebook's political ad archive.
  • The Federal Election Commission, which has been essentially defunct this cycle due to a lack of commissioners, doesn't have guidelines that address this particular use of social media marketing.

The big picture: The campaign is considering deploying the social media strategy nationwide, people familiar with the matter told WSJ.

Go deeper: Bloomberg's big bet on the power of money

Go deeper

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

A pro-choice activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked three abortion restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 1.

Why it matters: The laws would place new limits on medication-induced abortions and require doctors who perform abortions to attain board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.

U.S. freezes aid to Sudan over military coup

Protesting the coup in Khartoum. Photo: AFP via Getty

The Biden administration froze a $700 million aid package to Sudan after a military coup on Monday threatened to end the country's transition toward democracy.

Driving the news: At least three protesters have been killed and dozens wounded in the chaotic scenes that followed the announcements from Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's ruling council, dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.