In Depth

Ted Cruz ‘likes’ porn video on Twitter - and other social media gaffes

The Texas senator’s faux-pas is the latest in a long line of incidents when politics and Twitter didn’t mix

Former Republican presidential nominee Ted Cruz found himself at the centre of a Twitter storm when he appeared to “like” a pornographic video on the social media platform.

“It’s a big deal because Cruz once waged a legal campaign against dildos and sex toys, arguing that members of the public ‘have no right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship’,” says The Independent.

A spokeswoman for the Texas senator later announced that the “like” had been undone and reported to Twitter. “She did not offer an explanation for how or why Cruz’s account had ‘liked’ the brief pornographic video, which was initially shared by an account using the handle @SexuallPosts,” reports Politico.

Cruz is not the first politician to fall foul of the quirks of the social media platform - here’s some other examples of when politics and Twitter just didn’t mix.

Anthony Weiner

The story of New York Democrat Anthony Weiner made it onto the big screen in 2016, with the release of a documentary about the congressman.

Weiner’s tale is a short one of not learning your lessons. In May 2011, he accidentally tweeted a naked picture of himself to a Twitter friend. He claimed his account had been hacked, but later admitted that he’d been exchanging explicit photos with six women.

The scandal forced his resignation as congressman before Weiner attempted to relaunch his political career as the Democratic candidate for the New York mayoralty in 2013.

But Weiner was forced to stand-down after it emerged he had been sending explicit images once again on the social media platform, this time under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger”.

Raul R. Labrador

Idaho Republican Raul R. Labrador's February 2013 response to an advert for the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls” lasted only 14 seconds before being deleted. But it was immortalised by the online service Politiwoops, which noticed that he tweeted “Me likey Broke Girls” during a scene “involving a stripper pole, clothes being ripped off, and a cherry being seductively consumed”.

Labrador said the tweet had been posted “accidentally by a staffer”. 

David Cameron

To be fair to the former prime minister, he had foreseen his problems with Twitter in an interview with Absolute Radio in 2009, when he said “too many twits make a tw*t”.

But fast-forward five years and Cameron “caught some heat when he posted a very serious looking photo of him discussing the developing situation in Ukraine with President Obama”, says The Guardian.

In flooded the parodies - including one from the actor Sir Patrick Stewart, holding a tube of wet wipes to his ear.

Ed Miliband

Typos are par for the course on Twitter, but when the leader of the opposition makes a rather unfortunate one after the death of a high-profile figure, people tend to notice. Ed Miliband made his mistake while attempting to express sadness at the death of gameshow host Bob Holness, of Blockbusters fame.

“Sad to hear Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters,” read the hastily-deleted tweet.

It was poor timing for Miliband, who had only that morning reprimanded Diane Abbott for a racially charged tweet sent the day before.

Ed Balls

No list of political Twitter gaffes could be complete without a reference to the work of former shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

“As with all the best gaffes, Balls’ mistake was a simple one. He accidentally tweeted his own name,” says the Daily Mirror.

The story goes that he was searching for himself, having been urged to do so by one of his staffers in order to find a specific article. However in the rush to find out his daily dose of Ed news, the Labour heavyweight ended up typing in the wrong text box.

The rest, as they say, is history: 28 April is now widely known on Twitter as Ed Balls day, when hundreds of people tweet his name in celebration.

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