By Mary Pilon
Grassroots organizations ACORN and MomsRising.org are using Twitter as weapon to get Goldman Sachs to sign onto President Barack Obama’s new Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program.
Except they got the wrong Goldman.
ACORN, a grassroots housing advocacy organization, and MomsRising, an online community of mothers, told their members and the Twitter public at large to tweet “petition @GS_NEWS Prevent home foreclosures with the MHA program now! http://act.ly/5l retweet to sign #Homewrecker.” Their goal is to get Goldman, and three other institutions, to sign on with President Obama’s new Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program.
Except @GS_NEWS is not Goldman. GS_NEWS’ Twitter page is decorated with a Goldman Sachs logo and tweets about Goldman Sachs news. But, Goldman doesn’t have a presence on Twitter at all, says Andrea Rachman, a spokesperson for the bank. The owner of the @GS_NEWS account could not be reached via Twitter for comment.
It’s hard to precisely gauge how far the mistaken “#Homewrecker” movement traveled. But it appears to have trended well, with some replies coming this morning even after MomsRising was informed that it had targeted the incorrect Goldman.
ACORN and MomsRising ire originates over Litton, a loan-servicing company owned by Goldman, and three other mortgage companies: Barclay’s HomEq, IndyMac’s OneWest, and American Home Mortgage. Litton has yet to join the Obama MHA program which would obligates lenders to adhere to practices aimed at preventing foreclosure, such as modifying troubled mortgages.
MomsRising sent more than 32,000 letters to the CEOs of the four lenders, said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and co-founder of the group. But she said, the groups decided to target Goldman specifically on Twitter because “the other three banks were less active on Twitter.”
One West, one of the four lenders targeted by ACORN and MomsRising, made a statement yesterday that they will sign on to the Obama plan.
Goldman, however, said it will stick with its current mortgage policy. “Litton loan modification activities are consistent with the Home Affordable Modification Program,” Ms. Rachman says. “And we very much hope to formalize our participation in the program, but we need clarification from Treasury on whether it will affect our ability to hire the people we need to run our business effectively.”
In the meantime, MomsRising is rethinking Twitter campaigns, said Ms. Rowe-Finkbeiner after being notified that @GS_NEWS was an imposter. “We’re still learning as we go,” Ms. Rowe-Finkbeiner says, “One way or another, we’re going to get our message out.”