Twitter has applied a “manipulated media” tag to a doctored video of former Vice President Joe Biden that was shared by White House social media director Dan Scavino and retweeted by President Trump, according to Washington Post reporter Cat Zakrzewski. It’s believed to be the first time the platform has used the tag to denote faked media.
Biden’s campaign manager, Greg Schultz, responded with a strongly worded statement blasting Facebook for not taking similar action, as reported by CNN’s Sarah Mucha:
We live in an era of increasingly rampant disinformation, and there are only two ways to address this toxic force that is corroding our democracy: responsibly and in a way that serves the public, or irresponsibly and in a nakedly self-serving manner. Facebook’s malfeasance when it comes to trafficking in blatantly false misinformation is a national crisis in this respect. It is also an unconscionable act of putting profit above not just our country, but every country. Facebook won’t say it, but it is apparent to all who have examined their conduct and policies: they care first and foremost about money and, to that end, are willing to serve as one of the world’s most effective mediums for the spread of vile lies. That is repugnant, and it should be called out for what it is. Their unethical behavior is not acceptable, and it must change.
Twitter’s ban on faked pictures, video and other media “deceptively shared” went into effect March 5th. The policy covers synthetic and manipulated media “likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm” including sophisticated deepfakes as well as other content that has been deceptively edited.
Twitter has said it would ban repeat offenders who violated the policy, and label tweets as manipulated.
Twitter spokesperson Catherine Hill confirmed to The Verge in an email that “this Tweet was actioned based on our Synthetic and Manipulated Media policy.” She added that the “manipulated” tag was not showing up in the tweet detail, so users who click on it may not see it, but is visible in the timeline. Twitter is working on a fix for this glitch.
As of Monday morning, the tweet in question was still visible.
We reached out to the White House for comment and will update if they respond.
Update, March 8th, 6:48 PM ET: Added confirmation from Twitter.
Update, March 8th, 10:35PM ET: Added statement from the Biden campaign.
Update March 9th, 9:03 AM ET: Added additional information from Twitter about a glitch.