Yes, Bernie Sanders’ Donation Link Was Temporarily Blocked & Marked ‘Unsafe’ on Twitter

Getty Bernie Sanders in Portland in March 2016.

If you tried to donate to Bernie Sanders’ campaign right after his announcement, you might have had some trouble if you went from Twitter. The link to Sanders’ donation page, from Sanders’ own tweet, was briefly marked “unsafe” on Twitter.

The problem didn’t hurt his donations at all. In less than four hours, Sanders’ campaign raised more than $1 million after his announcement, CBS News reported. The donations came pouring in, even though his campaign was announced in the early morning hours. Sanders’ donations have already surpassed Kamala Harris, who made headlines when she raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of her campaign from more than 38,000 people in all 50 states. Sanders has also already raised money in all 50 states, likely making him easily eligible for the Democratic debates.

It’s not completely clear what happened with the Twitter link, but it was likely not intentional. Some have guessed that this happened because Sanders’ link redirected to Act Blue rather than to the domain of the original link. Alex Smith on Facebook, who is a political activist and senior policy manager for AIDS United, provided this explanation on Facebook:

Facebook

Others think that it was marked as unsafe because of the huge number of people who responded to the link and clicked on it so quickly, in such a short amount of time.

The link that triggered the warning was in this tweet from Sanders himself:

Here’s the message people received when the link was marked as questionable and people clicked on it.

Bernie Twitter link unsafe

Twitter

Some people had to copy the link and leave Twitter completely before they could go to the donation page. This has since been fixed.

Twitter

Here are more people commenting on what happened:

It’s doubtful that the “unsafe” mark on Twitter was malicious or intentional (Twitter has not yet publicly addressed what happened), but it still left a bad feeling with some supporters, who were used to seeing issues from media reports and the Democratic primary during Sanders’ campaign in 2016.

For example, in 2016, false media reports circulated about a chair being thrown in Nevada, that ended up being proven a hoax. And then there was the DNC primary throwing its support behind Hillary Clinton, revealed in WikiLeaks released emails. Donna Brazile even admitted later that the DNC primary was “rigged,” and Elizabeth Warren agreed, The Washington Post reported.

Some also voiced concern because Nick Pacilio, who is the communications manager at Twitter, was a former press secretary for Kamala Harris when she was the attorney general in California, for most of 2014. Some also remember the time that a number of Bernie Sanders Facebook groups were removed in 2016. This happened because they were flagged by competing voters and there was a Facebook technical glitch at the time. The problem with Sanders’ link on Twitter this time around appears to not be the result of a conspiracy or intentional. It was likely flagged because of the URL redirection or simply because his donation link was so popular so fast.

Twitter has since fixed the issue.

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