USPS mailboxes removed. Twitter’s freaking out, should you be?

6 mins read

One doesn’t just “go on” twitter anymore, one “flocks to” or “rushes to” it. This week, people took to twitter to slam President Trump for his recent treatment of the United States Postal Service (USPS). Twitter users brought significant national attention to pictures of locked and removed USPS mailboxes, heightening fears that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is being undermined ahead of the presidential election. While this may be the case, there are doubts about whether or not some of the pictures circulating on Twitter are telling the whole story. 

It is evident that Trump is trying to defund the USPS, but is the removal and locking up of USPS mailboxes something to freak out about, or is it a normal common practice?  There is a way to figure this out, by using social media analysis tools such as Nexalogy. Here are the results of a DemLabs analysis.

Watch the whole analysis in this 3 minute video.

Beginner’s guide to social media analysis

Twitter handles millions of tweets daily and identifying fast moving trends, public sentiment and key influencers isn’t easy. Social media analysis makes this possible. Twitter provides an interface (API) which allows external tools to import tweets and their author; analyze them and then provide a real-time dashboard of how they are connected. Or when bots are trying to hijack a conversation.

For this analysis, we used the hashtag #USPS to conduct the analysis over a 48 hour period from when we read that mailboxes were being removed and destroyed. This analysis includes over 11,000 tweets from over 10,000 publishers. Information is presented in a summary form but allows for easily researching specific tweets, authors and connections. The analysis is ongoing and the dashboard is continuously refreshed as more details are tweeted.

This is a photo of the current occupant of the White House attempting to steal the election. He is afraid of voters. WE NEED TO SCREAM AND YELL AND STOP THIS. More importantly, the time is NOW for you to have a PLAN on how you will VOTE!!! https://t.co/2xmvcxHJ7c— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) August 15, 2020

Can someone pls explain who is removing mailboxes from our streets? This is voter suppression! #USPS pic.twitter.com/2ZVF3pXB0g— Morgan J. Freeman (@mjfree) August 14, 2020

Looks like the #USPS is pulling out mailboxes in Brighton. @universalhub pic.twitter.com/rYC047nj5k— The Blank Check Kid (@BleachDaiquiri) August 14, 2020

In my hometown, a swing county in a swing state, the US Postal Service has just disconnected 2 of 6 mail-sorting machines (each can do 36,000 letters per hour with 99 percent accuracy), and workers say that will slow delivery ahead of the election https://t.co/5RQmjt6HUq #USPS— David Beard (@dabeard) August 16, 2020

What about analyzing Facebook posts?

You can’t. Facebook collects vast amounts of information on users, their posts and connection – but as typical for Facebook, keeps that information to itself and its advertisers. It does not provide an external interface for other software tools to analyze what people have been posting. This also makes it impossible to analyze when bad actors, bots and disinformation is being used to manipulated conversations.

Crippling the postal service for voter suppression

“On Sunday, the House Oversight Committee “invited Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to testify at an urgent hearing on Monday, August 24, 2020.” The hearing will scrutinize DeJoy’s “sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service, which experts warn could degrade delivery standards, slow the mail, and potentially impair the rights of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail.” The House has also imposed an August 21 deadline for DeJoy to produce documents related to those changes.

But funding for the USPS is stalled along with the broader coronavirus relief package. Trump, for his part, seems to be content with that. “They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it,” Trump said in an interview on Fox Business.” – Popular Information

Takeaway: Watch Twitter to spot trends, analyze public sentiment and identify key influencers

Analyze Twitter traffic with Social Media Analysis apps like Nexalogy to respond quickly. Contact DemLabs for free social media analysis of issues related to voting rights and social justice.

Deepak
DemLabs

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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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