• Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

Dimancherouge

Technology

Tired of seeing political texts and ads on your phone? Do this

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Stop unwanted text messages on your phone.


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Election Day is getting closer and political ads are swarming all over your Facebook feed, inbox, mailbox and now your text messages. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Do Not Text registry that applies to texting the same way it does to phone calls. There is, however, still a way you can attempt to stop political ads from bombarding your phone.

If you’re wondering how the organization got your number in the first place, it’s because all states allow access to voter data for election purposes — so if you’re a registered voter, your information is on file. 

Here’s how to stop the texts on your phone.


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Reply STOP to the sender

Usually when you receive a political text message, you can opt-out. You may see a message in the text body like “reply STOP or unsubscribe to stop receiving messages.” Before responding, however, make sure it’s a legitimate campaign number and not a scammer. If you reply to a scam message, it lets the sender know your number is active.

You may have to text STOP multiple times if several political campaign people are reaching out to you from different numbers.

Filter out the text messages

Your smartphone has capabilities that let you filter out text messages from unknown senders. While this doesn’t stop unknown senders from texting you, it will hide the messages so you don’t have to see them. Here’s how to filter out the messages on iPhones ($699 at Amazon) and Android phones.

If you’re an iPhone user, open the Settings app and tap Messages. From here, scroll down and select Filter Unknown Senders and swipe the toggle setting on. This will sort messages from people who aren’t in your contact list into a separate list.

If you’re an Android user, open the Messages app Settings on your phone and select Spam protection. Then, select Enable spam protection. Note that the steps to get there may vary based on which Android phone you’re using.

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The Messages settings on your iPhone or Android can help filter out texts.


Angela Lang/CNET

Contact the campaign that’s texting you

If all else fails, you can contact the political campaign that’s texting you and tell them to remove you from their list. (It’s often volunteers who are texting you about the campaigns, trying to get your vote.) They should then remove you from the contact list, but if they don’t, you can report them to the Federal Communications Commission.

For more election information, here are seven things you can do to make your vote count, how to track your election ballot online and make sure you know what your voting rights are before you head to the polls.

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