Facebook has applied a “partly false” label to a video of former Vice President Joe Biden that was edited to make it sound like he was saying President Trump would be reelected. The same video, posted by White House social media director Dan Scavino and retweeted by President Donald Trump, also got Twitter’s first “manipulated media” tag on Sunday.
The clip shows part of Biden’s March 7th speech in St. Louis. “Excuse me. We can only reelect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It’s got to be a positive campaign, so join us,” Biden said during the speech. The edited version cuts off after Biden says “we can only reelect Donald Trump.” The video was shared on the president’s verified Facebook page with the comment “I agree with Joe!”
The video was flagged by one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners, the company says. “Fact-checkers rated this video as partly false, so we are reducing its distribution and showing warning labels with more context for people who see it, try to share it, or already have,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Verge. “As we announced last year, the same applies if a politician shares the video, if it was otherwise fact-checked when shared by others on Facebook.”
Scavino tweeted on Sunday that “The video was NOT manipulated.” He added on his Facebook page that “Social media is trying to silence the MAGA Movement!” As of Monday morning, the video in question had more than 6.3 million views on Twitter and had been retweeted more than 25,000 times. The post on the president’s Facebook page showed more than 1 million views.
Following Twitter’s move to label the video, Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz criticized Facebook for not taking similar action, as reported by CNN’s Sarah Mucha:
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 spokesperson Catherine Hill told The Verge 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 it’s visible in the timeline. Twitter’s ban on fake pictures, video, and other media that are “deceptively shared” went into effect March 5th, and the company has said it would ban repeat offenders who violated the policy and label tweets as manipulated.
Facebook has previously told The Verge that its fact-checkers “are certified by Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network and work independently of Facebook. There’s an appeals process in place for publishers to dispute a rating by reaching out directly to any certified fact-checker.”