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At least 25 billion political text messages will be sent in the US between now and election day as messaging platforms develop increasingly sophisticated voter mobilization strategies. In a domain where ethics, voter privacy, and the legal framework are paramount, the insurgence of AI will challenge the players in the industry, posing risks and creating opportunities.

“I would be surprised if we didn’t at least reach 25 billion political messages, both sides, between now and November 5th of this year,” Thomas Peters, founder and CEO of Rumble Up, told the audience of a panel during the MEF Leadership Forum Americas in Miami, Florida. “2024 is going to be easily 50% bigger than 2022 when there were about 16 billion political messages sent. Rumble Up is the peer-to-peer (P2P) texting platform used by the Republican Party national committees, along with more than 2,500 campaigns and organizations across America.

In the lead-up to the election, a barrage of political texts will bombard Americans, particularly those in swing states or pivotal demographics. The reason is simple: text messaging campaigns are successful. Ninety-seven percent of the U.S. population owns a cell phone, according to the Pew Research Center. And political text open rates are up to 98%, according to the MIT Technology Review. With over 234 million eligible voters, the sheer volume of messages will be overwhelming.

In the lead-up to the election, a barrage of political texts will bombard Americans, particularly those in swing states or pivotal demographics. The reason is simple: text messaging campaigns are successful. “

 

In the 2016 presidential election, political texts were not significant. In 2020, they became prevalent. Now, they are booming. This highlights the evolving landscape of campaign strategies. These texts, facilitated by new mass, personalized texting tools, frequently aim to capitalize on gaps in communication and disclosure laws. “Our mission is to prevent political spoofing and the resulting disinformation and hopefully preserve trust in the political channels,” Anna Quint, Digital Director of Campaign Verify, told the MEF panel’s audience.

Jonathan Vimont, Director of North America Messaging at Sinch, would like to see more integration on the regulatory side. Campaign service providers (CSP) and direct connect aggregators (DCA) should sign, under the auspices of The Campaign Registry (TCR), “an agreement to comply with the 2023 messaging best practices,” he said.

“The goal here is to have a common resource where everyone can point to.” That would prevent anybody from saying they weren’t aware of the rules. Campaign Verify agrees: “We’re happy to work with TCR and every single player to make sure everyone understands and there are clear standards and guidelines that they can follow,” Anna Quint said. “I don’t think any player should be operating in a silo”.

“What worries me is Artificial Intelligence,” Krishna Ghodiwala, founding partner at Message Digital, stressed. “This is going to be our first election with AI at the forefront. Messaging is not exempt from that. We need to make sure that we’re working with good actors who are not sending misinformation.” That’s why it’s necessary to be a member of the bipartisan groups American Association of Information and Information Service and American Association of Political Consultants, according to Ghodiwala. “They do not condone AI-driven misinformation campaigns. There’s a zero-tolerance policy for that.”

Rumble Up has introduced AI into its software. Thomas Peters is excited about it: “We’ve used AI to positively leverage campaign time so that they can send better messages with less time investment,” he said — adding that the company doesn’t allow third-party AI tools to be piped into its platform. “There are companies that are connecting live AI agents to voters. We don’t do that.” The AI environment right now is “sort of like the Far West,” Peters argues. He mentioned the case of an AI voice agent calling live 50,000 voters and the gas of an app allowing to speak directly with a Congressman, but it’s an AI agent. “I see that as very dangerous without guardrails.”

MEF Leadership Forum Americas – Business Messaging and AI

Navigating the Future of Business Messaging – Trust, Transparency and Transformation – Prepare to be engaged in a series of thought-provoking keynotes, panels, and fireside chats led by renowned experts in the field. These sessions are designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the latest trends and innovative use cases in business messaging, AI and the state of RCS. We’ll also take deep dives into the challenges and opportunities that 2024 holds.

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