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World Map / Upcoming Elections / US Presidential election 2016 / US Election Updates / Anti-Obama text messages linked to Virginia company

2016 Presidential Election

US Election Updates - November 1, 2012

Anti-Obama text messages linked to Virginia company

A Virginia-based marketing and polling firm has been revealed to have made use of a legal loophole in order to bombard hundreds of Americans with unsolicited text messages slamming President Barack Obama.

More than a dozen different messages were sent to phone users on Tuesday, less than a week before Election Day.

The messages originated from websites rather than phone numbers and lambasted Obama on a range of issues such as abortion, foreign policy, same-sex marriage and taxation.

The domain names of the websites had been registered with GoDaddy.com through a firm that hides the original owners.

On Wednesday, Reuters news agency put together a list of at least nine websites gathered by reporters who received the text messages.

They discovered that three of the nine websites that sent the messages were registered by Jason Flanary. The sites have since been suspended for spam and abuse.

An email for Jason Flanary indicates he works for ccAdvertising, a division of FreeEats.com.

Neither Flanary nor the firm offered an explanation.

Based in Centreville, Virginia, ccAdvertising has represented Republican candidates in the past.

Its website says: "All ccAdvertising services are compliant with all Do Not Call regulations and exceptions."

However, it has been fined and sued for aggressive political advertising that many argue breaches laws against robo-calls and other types of automated phone contact.

It is not yet clear who paid for the messages and how many people received them.

Last year, Flanary unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for state Senate in Virginia.

His company was sued for allegedly sending thousands of spam texts in the last days of campaigning.

Federal law prohibits sending text messages to phone users who have not given prior consent. However, this does not address non-commercial messages that originate as an email, including political ones.