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Twitter applies its new 'manipulated media' label to video retweeted by Trump

Catherine Shu
The Twitter logo is seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California on November 4, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

A video retweeted by Donald Trump is the first to be marked with Twitter’s new "manipulated media" tag. The company formally unveiled a new policy last month that said media that has been "significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated" is likely to be labeled if it is determined to be deliberately misleading.

The video, originally tweeted by White House director of social media Dan Scavino and shared by Trump, used footage taken during a speech by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and was edited to make it appear as if Biden, speaking in Kansas City on Saturday, misspoke and accidentally endorsed Trump for re-election.

In the edited version of the video, Biden appears to say "Excuse me. We can only re-elect Donald Trump.” What Biden actually said was "Excuse me. 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."

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The manipulated media label began appearing on the video to some users on Sunday evening. Twitter first announced a draft of its new policy in November, which it said was created after gathering user feedback and consulting with academic experts like Witness, the Reuters Institute and New York University researchers.

In order to determine if a piece of media violates the policy, Twitter says it looks at its metadata, the tweet’s context and the Twitter user’s public information.

Twitter’s new policy was enacted after years of criticism that the company has not done enough to prevent harassment on the platform. It has also faced calls from Democrats and other critics of Trump to remove the president from this platform, including last October after they said he posted tweets meant to intimidate individuals involved in the impeachment investigation against him, and in 2018 when he made a tweet that antagonized North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over a potential nuclear war.

In each case, Twitter said it would reveal questionable tweets by public leaders, but believes keeping them on the platform is a part of public discourse.