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Ted Cruz 'likes' porn. Or at least his Twitter account does

Twitter can provide a direct link between a politician and his people. For US Sen. Ted Cruz, though, one message was more pornographic than political.

Ted Cruz Washington

US Sen. Ted Cruz has been left red-faced over pornographic content that surfaced on his Twitter account. 

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Ted Cruz's verified Twitter account is generally a predictable and staid affair. That changed late Monday night.

In the midst of 9/11 remembrances and gratitude for Hurricane Harvey volunteers, the Cruz account liked a video posted by @SexuallPosts. The handle should tell you all you need to know about the nature of the material it shares with the world.

It's unclear who was driving Cruz's account when it detoured into Twitter's red light district. It could have been the senator, a staffer or even a hacker. Catherine Frazier, Cruz's senior communications adviser, tweeted shortly after 11 p.m. PT that the like had been "removed by staff and reported to Twitter." 

A Twitter spokesperson said the company doesn't comment on individual accounts out of concern for privacy and security.

How this happened is anyone's guess (and go to Twitter if you'd like to see some of the hypotheses). But in an age in which campaign promises and public policy are often 140 characters long, politicians should be treating verified social media accounts, like those found on Facebook and Twitter, as direct links with the people. Whether posted by an elected official or tapped out by staff, everything on the account has the politician's implicit approval.

Cruz, whose office didn't respond to a request for comment, will likely learn that lesson as he surveys the fallout from this like, which was noted far and wide on Twitter.  Pornhub, which requires no further description, quickly offered the senator help getting a premium membership. Even @SexuallPosts, the poster of the porn, replied to the failed 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

sexuall2

The timing couldn't have been more uncomfortable for Cruz and, presumably, his 3 million followers. With Texas still reeling in the aftermath of Harvey, it's not a good look for one of the state's most prominent elected officials to appear to have been watching explicit adult entertainment while constituents are rebuilding. The like also went up in the waning hours of Sept. 11, a solemn day for Americans and timing that didn't escape notice.

The liked tweet also poses a problem for Cruz because it contrasts with his vocal social conservativism. At one point during the 2016 election, Cruz was forced to pull a campaign ad simply because one of the actors was found to have previously worked in soft-core porn.

Though the like was only up briefly, it was seen widely. That was enough to trigger the predictable cycle of Twitter wisecracks, some of which were as amusing as they were NSFW. And just like that, #tedcruz became the top worldwide trending hashtag. (Visit at your own risk.)

It's still unclear who liked the tweet from Cruz's account. As noted, it could have been Cruz, someone on his communications team or a digital graffiti artist. But it will still be a problem for the Texan. 

Coming from a verified account, it might as well have read, "I'm Ted Cruz and I approved this message."

Update, 9.13 a.m. AEST: Adds comment from Twitter. 

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