HHS' New Spokesman So Good At Communications Strategy That He Thinks He Can Delete Tweets From The Internet
from the noooooooope dept
It never ceases to amaze me how often people that really should know better seem to think that they can simply remove their own histories from the internet effectively. It seems the be a lesson never learned, be it from major corporations or even the Pope, that the internet never forgets. Thanks to tools like The Wayback Machine and others, attempts to sweep history under the rug are mostly fruitless endeavors. And, yet, people still try.
Such as Michael Caputo, the new spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. That department is just a tad important at the moment, given the COVID-19 pandemic we’re all enduring. Well, Caputo got the job and decided he better get to Twitter to delete all that racist and conspiratorial shit he said so that we all don’t find out about it.
The new spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services in a series of now-deleted tweets made racist and derogatory comments about Chinese people, said Democrats wanted the coronavirus to kill millions of people and accused the media of intentionally creating panic around the pandemic to hurt President Donald Trump.
Michael Caputo, a longtime New York Republican political operative who worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was appointed last week as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS, a prominent communications role at the department which serves a central role in the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Caputo, a prolific user who often tweeted insults and profanity, recently erased nearly his entire Twitter history from before April 12. CNN’s KFile used the Internet Archive’s “The Wayback Machine” to review more than 1300 deleted tweets and retweets from late February to early April many of which were regarding the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
If you feel like wallowing in the muck, you can see more of Caputo’s once-musings from Twitter here, where someone saved them. Now, I know precisely what you’re thinking: But, Tim, how can we go and see these tweets when Caputo very smartly and correctly deleted them?
Great question, Michael Caputo, and thanks for coming to Techdirt to read this. See, the internet isn’t a piece of paper in front of you that you can crumple up and light on fire after you’ve finally written down all the hateful stuff you’ve wanted to say but never had the guts to say out loud. Instead, it’s made up of computers and servers and probably lots of other things too! Like transistors or something, who knows! But what I do know is that there are ways to go back and capture things that are deleted on the internet. And then, you know, discuss them out loud like we are now.
It’s called The Streisand Effect. It’s how you go from “Hey, I’ll just delete these tweets” to “Holy shit, CNN now has an article discussing those tweets I didn’t want anyone to see!”
In Caputo’s defense, his comments to CNN after the publication amount to him telling CNN he doesn’t really mind if anyone sees the tweets he went and deleted.
After publication, Caputo responded to CNN’s request for comment by saying that reporting on his past tweets is “fair game, dude. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me at all.” He claimed that he deletes his tweets “every month and I do it because it drives people mad.”
He added “when you tweet in spirited fashion, KFile is going to have them. I’ve known that all my days. So I don’t mind what you’ve done.” Caputo defended his past Twitter behavior saying he was “a defender of the President” tweeting in a “spirited manner” that included calling out reporters, but he said he’s “now a servant of the American people and some might be disappointed, but my tweets will be different.”
And we’ll look for those different tweets to get deleted every month on the month, too, I’m sure.