It seems like it’s getting harder these days to hide the fact that you’re surreptitiously monitoring left-wing political activists. And accidentally tweeting proof of that fact sure doesn’t make it any easier.
Massachusetts state police are dealing with that reality this week after a Twitter slip-up revealed that they were keeping tabs on a number of political groups in the area. And, surprise, it was anti-Trump and anti police-brutality groups that are under the cops’ watchful eyes.
Helpfully, The Guardian recaps what went down. While tweeting a warning to residents potentially affected by the tragic gas explosions rocking the Boston suburbs this past week, the state police included a photo of a map of other areas that might require evacuation.
“Reminder: all residents of Lawrence/Andover/N[orth] Andover who have Columbia Gas must evacuate, as should anyone else who smells gas,” read the now-deleted tweet.
But it’s the photo, helpfully saved before the police realized their mistake, that tells the larger story.
It appears that whoever originally tweeted the pic — perhaps unaware that a Twitter image preview doesn’t show the full image and that you can click to expand — forgot to crop it. The photo was of a computer monitor, and several browser bookmarks are clearly visible.
The Massachusetts State Police deleted a tweet featuring this image, highlighting the houses effected by a gas explosion on the map. Can you tell why it was deleted? The police were spying on Left-Wing groups which you can see on their favorited list. pic.twitter.com/EDUEk6zU0J
— Collin Fisher (@CollinFisher) September 14, 2018
Among those include bookmarks to the pages of the Coalition to Organize and Mobilize Boston Against Trump (COMBAT), Mass Action Against Police Brutality, Facebook MA Activism, and a progressive-curated calendar of anti-Trump rallies.
The police are literally keeping tabs on peaceful left-wing activist groups.
But to hear David Procopio, the state police director of media communications, tell it, this is not at all what it looks like.
“We do not collect information about – nor, frankly, do we care about – any group’s beliefs or opinions,” he told the Guardian.
Which is totally believable. After all, who are you going to believe? Paid police spokesperson Procopio, or your lying eyes?
Maybe the Massachusetts state police should spend a little less time monitoring left-wing groups and a little more time learning the ins and outs of Twitter.