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.

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Filed Under: deleting tweets, erasing history, health and human services, hhs, michael caputo, tweets


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 6:02pm

    Honestly, almost seems over qualified...

    A racist loser who likes to entertain batshit conspiracy theories and claims he likes to delete his tweets simply to mess with people.

    Yeah, that sounds exactly like someone who should be in a position of power, especially one dealing with communicating with the public regarding a global pandemic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 8:43pm

      Re: Honestly, almost seems over qualified...

      Of course he is.
      The 'G' in "GOP stands for gaslighting after all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2020 @ 8:49pm

        Re: Re: Honestly, almost seems over qualified...

        Yeah and the Demon in Demoncrats stands for DEMON.

        Are you another devil worshipper, like Hillary’s campaign manager?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 9:33pm

          The Plaintiff's failure to cite the substance of their claims, as is required for those claims to be taken seriously, compels dismissal.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2020 @ 8:31am

          Re: Re: Re: Honestly, almost seems over qualified...

          Are you another devil worshipper, like Hillary’s campaign manager?

          Oh, for fucks sake. There is no god, and because of that there is also no devil. What use is one without the other?

          And if there turns out to be a god, I've got some serious questions for that useless fucking piece of shit.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2020 @ 9:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Honestly, almost seems over qualified...

            Considering Mammon-cultist Trump breaks at least 8 of the 10 commandments, and embodies all 7 cardinal sins, the bot's ranting about demon-worship is definitely misplaced.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 30 Apr 2020 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Honestly, almost seems over qualified...

          Ah, and there's the 'P' for Projection.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 11:24pm

      Re: Honestly, almost seems over qualified...

      claims he likes to delete his tweets simply to mess with people.

      What did you expect when the GOP's yellow head honcho claims to be using sarcasm when the world is laughing its ass off at his batshit crazy ideas?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2020 @ 8:34pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how often people that really should know better seem to think that they can simply Hide the truth by hiding public comments.

    For example, Techdirt.

    How pathetic you fucking losers are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 8:49pm

      And yet, here you are, “slumming” with the same losers you decry. If you were better than us, you wouldn’t need to say or imply it — because you wouldn’t be here to do it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2020 @ 9:18pm

      Re:

      I often hide the rest of my house by closing the door of the room that I'm in. Then the rest of the house ceases to exist!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 11:45pm

      Re:

      There is a massive different between hiding the rantings of an immature loser and deleting tweets from public record, but you don't have the capacity to understand such things..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 30 Apr 2020 @ 6:24am

        Re: Re:

        Almost correct, they do not have the honesty to admit it, I've little doubt they know the difference by now quite well given how often it's explained.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2020 @ 11:59pm

      Re:

      Keep weeping salty tears into your Fran Drescher mask, Hamilton. Jilted lover's a good look for you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2020 @ 5:12am

      Re:

      It never ceases to amaze me how often people that really should know better seem to think that they can simply Hide the truth by hiding public comments.

      It never ceases to amaze me how much you people fucking whine. It's really all you do. Tell me, do you do anything else other than complain?

      I mean, if this site is so bad, and we're such losers, why don't you just go fuck your whiny self and go somewhere else? At least that way, you might find someone more sympathetic to perpetual victims like you.

      How pathetic you fucking losers are.

      Says the fucking loser who can't even find other whiners to complain with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 9:36pm

    His “explanation” or whatever sounds like a new variant on the “I was just joking” backsies defense. Said defense most commonly comes from racist assholes who say something racist and use “I was just joking” as a (piss-poor) defense when what they said offends someone else. That defense is bullshit, and so is Caputo’s.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2020 @ 5:09am

      Re:

      They were sarcastic tweets to see how people like you would react!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Apr 2020 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      Bullshit, but it does seem to open up some entertaining possibilities next time one of them throws a tantrum because a 'snowflake' says something that hurts their conservative feelings: 'What's the matter, I was just kidding/being sarcastic'.

      If they want to try to excuse their words with that and think that it gives them a get-out-of-responsibilities free card then great, they can enjoy being on the other end of it and showing their blatant hypocrisy when suddenly that's not enough and the person who offended their sensibilities simply must pay!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ryuugami, 29 Apr 2020 @ 10:16pm

    but my tweets will be different

    I, for one, find the honesty refreshing: he didn't say he will be different -- only his tweets.

    (Sure, he's still a terrible person, but hey. Baby steps.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2020 @ 2:30am

    Hmmm

    ".....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"

    Hmmm. Wonder how someone like that got the job?

    "Republican political operative who worked on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign".

    Oh...... Right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    VCRAGAIN, 30 Apr 2020 @ 5:07am

    never mind what I said last week !

    Seems these people don't even care if we recognize that they don't mean a word they say EVER...what a way to run your life...every word you utter should be taken as just posturing...because you might need to say the opposite tomorrow ???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 30 Apr 2020 @ 8:06am

    So, we get Caputo, with the maturity and wisdom of (maybe) a freshman in highschool in an important position in HHS.

    Yes Caputo, the virus is a giant hoax created to get Trump out of office. You're a fucking genius! The Democrats are so powerful they have the entire world scared. The Democrats want people to die so they can beat Trump, that's why California's Democratic governor issued a shelter in place order before the Trump administration made recommendations, oh wait...The Chinese bat eaters are the reason the Trump administration failed.

    It appears no one associated with this administration has the wisdom or courage to look in the mirror and accept responsibility. Much easier to blame others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2020 @ 10:57am

      Re:

      So, we get <any Trump appointee>, with the maturity and wisdom of (maybe) a freshman in highschool in an important position in <some area of government>.

      Same bullshit, different day.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 30 Apr 2020 @ 2:49pm

    If I were like you, I would agree with you.

    HUMANS.,.
    Trolls.
    Idiots
    Other opinions
    Finger pointing
    Non-critical thinking, No personal knowledge, Pre-programmed, That makes since I can say that(even if its wrong)

    Humans..
    If you were like me, you would agree with everything I say/print/repeat...
    And then you TRY to hide what you are?? YOU ARE HUMAN.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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