Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) beat merger opposition group Stop Mega Cable to the social-media punch, seizing its would-be Twitter handle and posting pro-deal messaging from it.
Stop Mega Cable was launched last month by Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), Public Knowledge and other consumer groups and labor unions to oppose Charter's takeovers of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
But before the group could register the Twitter handle @StopMegaCable, Charter took it. And this week, it made use of it, tweeting out links to pro-merger trade stories and calling out Dish's rumored merger with T-Mobile.
"Using @stopmegacable was meant in jest," Charter said in a statement. "We thought that pointing out that a 'coalition' that hadn't even secured a Twitter handle would be the best evidence that it is little more than a shill for the business interests of Dish Network."
The group, meanwhile, responded by registering @StopMegaCables. It then tweeted out messages about how New Charter would control a third of the U.S. broadband market and be unfriendly to broadcast.
Stop Mega Cable also released this statement: "Charter's attempt to frame this as a joke is, itself, laughable. Not one of their tweets read as humorous; all deceive people into clicking on pro-merger links. Those kind of social media shenanigans may be par for the course in no-holds-barred cage-match political campaigns, but they have no place in a serious regulatory review process aimed at upholding the public interest."
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