Text-messaging platform Opn Sesame warned people that “Radical Liberals & Dems are trying to steal this election from Trump!”
A texting company operated by one of President Donald Trump’s campaign officials told supporters to rally in Philadelphia on Thursday, claiming Democrats were stealing the presidential election.
Gary Coby is the Trump campaign’s digital director. He is also the CEO of text-messaging platform Opn Sesame and has many GOP clients, including the Republican National Committee. The app was used to spread to misinformation, according to the Associated Press.
These text messages, a reaction to former Vice President Joe Biden taking the lead nationwide, were sent out to various users, telling them, “ALERT: Radical Liberals & Dems are trying to steal this election from Trump! We need YOU! Show your support at the corner of 12th St. & Arch St. in Philadelphia.”
On Thursday, many votes in Pennsylvania were still being counted at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Trump was ahead in the state, according to Philly Voice.
Protests outside the convention center took place between Thursday and Friday and were largely peaceful.
Things took a turn for the worse as more mail-in ballots, which Trump and his supporters were calling illegitimate, were counted.
The state ultimately turned blue and Biden was declared the winner of Pennsylvania and consequently, the presidency.
“This kind of message is playing with fire, and we are very lucky that it does not seem to have driven more conflict,” John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s online watchdog Citizen Lab, who broke the story, said.
Coby has declined to comment on the app’s viral messages, and a top Trump campaign official has denied any association, saying multiple customers use the app.
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