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Texas Has Second Most Political Robotexts Nationwide


Text message | Image by Tero Vesalainen

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In October, Texas had the second most political robotexts in the country, according to data from RoboKiller — an app that blocks spam texts and calls.

The data shows that Texans received over 117.5 million political robotexts last month. About 96 million of those texts were sent by the Republican party, while more than 21 million were sent by the Democratic Party.

California was the only state with more political robotexts than Texas, with a total of 163.9 million.

Texas had the third most political robocalls in the nation with about 1.7 million, behind both California (2.5 million) and Pennsylvania (5.3 million).

In Texas, roughly 1.3 million robocalls were sent by the Republican Party, while about 404,000 were sent by the Democratic Party.

Dallas County voter Shawn Hill said, “It’s annoying to the point where I’ve tried to block them. I’ve tried to delete all the ones that come through so that it won’t be a repeat. But it’s annoying.”

“It could be helpful for somebody like my dad, who needs the reminder,” said Tasha Smith, another Dallas County voter. “But for me, on the other hand, who may not need the reminder, it’s annoying.”

Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, a political science professor at the University of North Texas, posed the question, “Is there a certain number of texts and phone calls that make you so annoyed that you’re going to vote against that person?”

“Really the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] needs to be involved and regulate this,” he suggested. “Right now, there’s just not a lot of regulation for these sorts of communications. There is a workaround in terms of what it means to be the human messenger.”

According to the FCC, “Political text messages can be sent without the intended recipient’s prior consent if the message’s sender does not use auto-dialing technology to send such texts and instead manually dials them.”

Eshbaugh-Soha said that while a real person may “get the ball rolling,” he has a “hard time believing that there’s a person sending individual texts repeatedly to different phone numbers.”

He also said that campaigns could retrieve phone numbers from the state’s voter registration file and political parties are able to buy phone lists.

“If you make contact with any campaign, your phone number is there,” Eshbaugh-Soha said, adding that there is neither a privacy warning nor the ability to opt out from the campaign’s robotexts and calls.

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28 days ago

Are the phone companies also giving out phone numbers? If so, is this legal? My reason for asking..I am listed as a family member on someone else’s account. {The owner of the account, I will call her Jane; and we will say my name is Joe.} Robo Texts are contacting my personal number, yet refer to me as Jane. No one would know this information unless it came from the phone company Jane does business with.