White House social media director Dan Scavino has become one of the first to be impacted by the new policy after a video of Joe Biden that he tweeted was tagged as manipulated media.
Last month, Twitter announced it was introducing a rule against “deceptively [sharing] synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm,” and would be adding warnings to some tweets that contain “synthetic and manipulated media.” Such media has become a worrying issue in political campaigns, with online misinformation a significant concern in recent and upcoming elections.
It was therefore unsurprising that a politician was very quickly caught in Twitter’s new net.
In actuality, the video ends midway through Biden’s sentence. The footage was taken from Biden’s Kansas City, Mo. rally on Saturday, and of the event show him saying, “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.”
Biden’s statement that Democrats “cannot win” was further a simple matter of him fumbling his words.
This, of course, didn’t stop Scavino uploading the cropped footage to his 700,000 followers, nor did it stop President Donald Trump from retweeting it to his 73.4 million.
Twitter marked Scavino’s tweet as manipulated media almost a day after it was posted, by which time it had already accumulated thousands of retweets and millions of views. Better late than never, but it would have been better early than late.
The warning on Scavino’s tweet doesn’t show up all the time, either. reported that it doesn’t appear when users search for the tweet, which Mashable confirmed. Fortunately, Twitter told the Post it is working on a fix.
Scavino is, of course, defending his tweet. Since posting the video, he has retweeted claiming it has not been manipulated, only clipped. However, the video is clearly and deliberately presenting a false, misleading account of actual events. Trying to defend it is basically arguing that a lie by omission isn’t a lie.
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