Twitter appears to have walked back its position on flagging campaign video and audio clips.
Twitter has still not flagged fake news content published by the Biden campaign or the Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA for falsely portraying President Donald Trump calling the Wuhan coronavirus a “hoax.”
Last month, both former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign and Priorities USA published deceptively edited videos.
The manipulated video showed Trump downplaying the threat from the Wuhan virus by characterizing the outbreak as a new Democratic “hoax” similar to impeachment and Russiagate.
Donald Trump issued a cease and desist letter to stop our ad from running because he doesn’t want Americans to know the truth about his failed leadership. Help keep it on the air by donating herehttps://t.co/ZeRIriA3Y8 pic.twitter.com/Jdh1GY9HHS
— Priorities USA (@prioritiesUSA) March 26, 2020
We can't sit by and lose this country to Donald Trump. Today, we take it back — together.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 3, 2020
The video from Biden’s campaign racked up more than 300,000 views while the Priorities USA ad went viral garnering more than 15 million on the platform ,despite mainstream fact-checkers such as PolitiFact, Snopes and FacCheck.org each labeling the Democratic charges as false. The resistance Washington Post even rated the Biden video with four Pinocchios, the highest single false rating awarded by the paper. Facebook also flagged a Politico article making the assertion on the platform as fake news.
Meanwhile, Twitter used its new policy regarding “manipulated media” to tag a video from the Trump campaign where Biden says “we can only re-elect Donald Trump” as misinformation in early March.
According to Twitter’s new rule formally titled the “Synthetic and Manipulated Media Policy,” users “may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm.”
Sleepy Joe💤in St. Louis, Missouri today:
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) March 8, 2020
The false content rating earned sharp criticism from the campaign’s Chief Operation Officer Michael Glassner accusing the social media giant of employing a double standard by refusing to apply the same rules to Team Biden.
Glassner charged Twitter of “instituting a ‘Biden protection rule’” to cover up for Biden’s mishaps by flagging the campaign’s raw footage of Biden’s remarks while allowing deceptively edited content from the Biden operation to roam freely on the platform.
On Thursday, the Trump campaign released an edited video of its own framing Biden of referring to the Wuhan coronavirus as a hoax to test Twitter’s new rule.
“The coronavirus is a hoax,” Biden says plainly in the manipulated clip which is reminiscent of the ad run by Priorities USA.
The media is giving a pass to a pro-Biden TV ad that doctors and deceptively edits audio of President Trump, even though every independent fact checker said President Trump DID NOT call the coronavirus a hoax.
Joe Biden, on the other hand? This sounds authentic… pic.twitter.com/YY6vN5gTM6
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) April 2, 2020
TJ Ducklo, the national press secretary for the Biden campaign, condemned the ad urging the Trump campaign to take down the video or for Twitter to remove it on its own.
“Disinformation and deceptively manipulated media have no place in our public discourse, and must not be tolerated in this campaign,” Ducklo wrote on Twitter. “The Trump campaign should take this video down, and if they won’t, Twitter should remove it immediately.”
A spokesperson for Twitter however, told The Federalist that the ad would not be labeled under the site’s guidelines regarding “synthetic and manipulated media.”
Trump campaign spokesman Matt Wolking told The Federalist that the campaign would remove the video testing Twitter’s rules only if rival organizations removed their own doctored footage framing Trump of saying the same thing despite fact-checkers characterizing their claims as demonstrably false.
“It’s clearer than ever that Twitter is not equipped to police political videos. If it is going to attempt to, it must begin to enforce the rules transparently, fairly, and equally. Regardless of Twitter’s arbitrary and ineffective rules, splicing video or audio together to make it appear as though someone said something that they never actually said should be out of bounds,” Wolking said. “In that spirit, we will voluntarily take down our video of Joe Biden saying ‘the coronavirus is a hoax’ once the the Biden campaign, its super PAC Unite the Country, and supporting groups Fellow Americans and Priorities USA take down their deceptively edited and doctored videos of President Trump. Until them, turnabout is fair play.”