Should You Text ‘Count Me’ to 89800 to Support the Women’s March?

A third-party organization has urged Women's March participants to text "COUNT ME" to 89800 to be tallied, but the event's organizers have not endorsed the effort.

  • Published 23 January 2017

Claim

The Women's March on Washington is tallying attendees by asking them to text "COUNT ME" to 89800.

People who marched in Saturday's Women's March on Washington (and elsewhere in the world) were encouraged to text "count me" to the number 898-00, ostensibly to get a headcount of marchers. Turns out it was propagated by It'sTime.org, which seems like a legitimate community organizing site. However there are rumors that it's really a phish.

Collected via e-mail, January 2017

Rating

What's True

A third-party organization is running a "text COUNT ME to 89800" campaign and maintains that all information will be turned over to march organizers.

What's False

The "text 89800" campaign was neither started nor endorsed by the Women's March organizers.

Origin

The Women’s March on Washington event that took place on 21 January 2017 far exceeded the expectations of its organizers, drawing approximately 500,000 participants in Washington, D.C., and perhaps two million more in other cities across the U.S. and around the world.

Not long after the marches concluded, word spread that march organizers were asking attendees to text “COUNT ME” to 89800 in order for their presence at that event to be tallied:

Various versions of the exhortation were shared by celebrities as well as satellite Women’s March events, some of them subsequently deleted:

89800 text count me

Adding to the confusing the matter was a tweet published and then deleted by the official Women’s March account, disavowing the “text 89800” message:

89800_womens_march

The Seattle Privacy Coalition took note of the viral message and expressed reservations about its legitimacy:

That tweet linked to marketing communications company TxtWire’s “89800 Mobile Terms & Conditions” page, which is the most detailed information we’ve been able to locate about the texting 89800 program so far:

Program Description
The program sends subscribers alerts regarding promotions, coupons, and time sensitive deals from local businesses.

To opt-in, Text DEALMEIN to 89800. 8 msgs/mo. Msg&data rates may apply. To opt-out, Text STOP to 89800. An opt-out confirmation message will be sent back to you. To request support, Text HELP to 89800 or email us at support@txtwire.com.

The effort appears to be spearheaded by the It’s Time Network, a group professing to be an “inclusive community of people and organizations working collaboratively to accelerate the full empowerment of women and girls in order to achieve gender equity, evolve democracy and build fair economies that regenerate the Earth.” That organization began promoting the “text 89800” initiative on 21 January 2017:

In a subsequent series of tweets, the group acknowledged that the effort was undertaken independently by the It’s Time Network and not specifically by Women’s March organizers:

We have been unable to locate any march organizers officially endorsing the “text COUNT ME to 89800” message campaign. Although some satellite marches retweeted information about the program, details such as who was attempting to collect a headcount and for what purposes remained unclear.

We have contacted the official Women’s March via e-mail and social media to inquire about the text campaign but have not yet received a response.

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