Last month, Twitter released a set of rules to identify and label tweets with manipulated media, as a way of battling misinformation on its platform. Last night, it tagged the first tweet with “manipulated media” — a doctored Joe Biden video retweeted by the US President Donald Trump.
The edited video, originally tweeted by White House social media director Dan Scavino on Saturday, shows Biden talking about re-electing Trump in at an event in Missouri.
Sleepy Joe💤in St. Louis, Missouri today:
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) March 8, 2020
For context, this is the full video. It has been edited in a way to trick the viewer into believing Biden is endorsing Trump.
The full video is just a little different.
You'd think snowflakes who whine about fake news would be more careful before spreading… fake news.
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) March 8, 2020
However, the tag wasn’t visible to all users. Twitter said the label showed up only if the tweet appeared on someone’s timeline — not when you searched for it or clicked on it. The company told Reuters it was working on fixing this bug.
As The Washington Post noted, the social media company wasn’t swift enough to apply the label. It was applied 18 hours after the original tweet went up.
Previously, Twitter has been quite hesitant about taking action against any of Trump’s tweets. It has tried to justify its stance by saying the President’s tweets are “newsworthy,” and that’s why they should not be taken down, even if they violate Twitter’s terms. Last year, the company rolled out a new policy stating it will de-list politicians’ bannable tweets, but won’t delete them.
As US presidential elections inches closer, platforms like Twitter and Facebook have started flagging and various forms of manipulated media that’s intended to misinform the public, including AI-powered deepfakes. Twitter’s labeling of Trump’s retweet shows that the platform is on the alert about the political ramifications of fake news spread through manipulated media.