To many progressives on Twitter, UniteBlue is a closed issue. Over 11,000 have joined and are connected and amplified and “protected,” or at least so they say. To them, any questioning of Zach Green’s past indicates possible nefarious motives and a likely GOP affiliation. However, I enjoy a good mystery, and trying to figure out what Zach Green has been up to is definitely mysterious. This post will likely be my last on the subject, as it covers one of the last issues that has been bothering me.
Mr. Green is the President of UniteBlue, a nonprofit organized in Massachusetts ostensibly to “connect the left.” Until recently he was the owner. He and his father built web “aggregators” for GOP candidates in 2011. They say the most popular one was for Herman Cain. I have yet to see any signs of the others, but I’ll take them at their word. The Greens have stated they shut down the Cain “aggregator” when they realized Herman Cain’s positions were incompatible with their own (“Once we realized Cain’s real beliefs, we shut down the site.”)
Due to a wholesale deletion of webpages, references, tweets, and twitter accounts it is only possible to reconstruct their 140Cain work from the WayBack machine, Topsy and Retweets. My investigation has revealed significantly more effort than creating a simple “aggregator.”
“A group of conservatives organized under the hashtag #TGDN has been targeting progressive accounts with the intention of getting them suspended. They report progressive accounts as Spam, which is particularly effective against smaller accounts with few followers. We’re helping the Left find and follow one another so they are protected.”
“Our sole purpose is to connect the Left with the understanding we’re stronger together.” - Zach Green, Owner of 140Elect, in an interview with Politicus.
Twitter frowns on “followback schemes.” See their rules here. Followback schemes come and go. Nevertheless, some Twitter accounts exist solely to generate followers. Having many followers increases your reach, your clout, your community, and doubtless self-esteem. Having many like-minded folks to “hang out with” online is valuable. It is also valuable, literally, to marketers and political campaign operators. A message or advertisement can have a massive impact if enough followers retweet.
UniteBlue had existed barely five months when Todd Kincannon launched TGDN (click here to read about that, if you dare) in early January 2013. A Twitter-furor began over TGDN members intentionally gaming the Twitter suspension algorithm to get perceived political opponents suspended. Some liberals were suspended. Zach Green and supporters immediately began tweeting that UniteBlue was the only way to protect from suspension. He proffered two solutions: 1. Do not engage right wing trolls, and 2. Join UniteBlue.
If you follow politics on Twitter you may have encountered “UniteBlue.” UniteBlue is something you can “join” on Twitter. Here is their explanation of what they do. They encourage you to join their website, wherein you will be asked to grant them Read/Write Authority with your Twitter account. Thus they have access to your account and can “Tweet” from it. They also have extensive user lists, and encourage members to follow each other. It is a proven way to connect with other liberals on Twitter, and quickly. Some users enthusiastically advocate for it, others warn of questionable motives and methods. Count me among the latter.
At the outset, I want to make clear I have no intention of shouting from the mountaintops that Zach Green is a GOP plant and the whole thing is a scam. It’s a complicated matter and involves many strands. Whether UniteBlue is a followback scheme and marketing ploy disguised as a “movement,” a GOP false flag operation, or a legitimate effort dogged by questionable methods, I don’t know for sure. I can only go by what I have read, from various sources. And, whatever it is now, I admit UniteBlue could evolve into something useful. I avoided joining, then joined, then immediately didn’t like what I saw. I disabled all access by their app and began to ask questions. And the answers have been troubling. The attacks against me for asking questions have been surprising as well. I’ve been compared to Ted Cruz and called a Nazi by “UniteBlue believers.” So how did this business get such devoted (and mistaken, in the case of those two) followers?
— Carl Sagan