Twitter slaps 'manipulated media' label on deceptively edited video of Biden retweeted by Trump

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Just last month, Twitter announced new rules as it tries to stem the flow of "synthetic and manipulated media" on the platform. The company only started using the "manipulated media" label on March 5, and it was White House social media director Dan Scavino who earned the questionable honor of being the first recipient.

Over the weekend, he shared a video clip of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden that was edited in such a way as to make it seem as though Biden was endorsing Trump. But the clip had been carefully edited to change the meaning of what was actually said.

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Scavino shared a clip of Biden speaking in Missouri on Saturday. It shows Biden saying: "Excuse me. We can only re-elect Donald Trump".  But this is not the entirety of what he said. While what was posted sounds positive towards Trump, what he actually said was: "Excuse me. We can only re-elect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It's gotta be a positive campaign so join us". This obviously gives a very different meaning, hence Twitter's decision to apply the "manipulated media" label on Sunday -- the same day Trump retweeted the video

The edited clip fell foul of Twitter's new rules against deceptively sharing synthetic or manipulated media. When the company announced the rule changes last month, it said: "we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media's authenticity and to provide additional context". The factors taken into consideration before applying the label include:

  • Whether the content has been substantially edited in a manner that fundamentally alters its composition, sequence, timing, or framing;
  • Any visual or auditory information (such as new video frames, overdubbed audio, or modified subtitles) that has been added or removed; and
  • Whether media depicting a real person has been fabricated or simulated.

The "manipulated media label is not showing up for everyone just yet, but you can see it in the screenshot tweeted by Cat Zakrzewski from the Washington Post:

Twitter says it is working to ensure that the label is visible by all.

Image credit: asiandelight / Shutterstock

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