In a first, Twitter applied its new ‘manipulated media’ label on Sunday, 8 March on a video retweeted by President Trump. The video, a deceptive edit of former vice president Joe Biden was first shared by White House social media director Dan Scavino and subsequently retweeted by Donald Trump.
According to a report by The Washington Post, this is the first of Twitter’s new social media policy which was implemented on 5 March.
“The aim of the policy is to label tweets that contain manipulated or synthetic media, ranging from edited videos to more sophisticated examples known as “deepfakes” that can fabricate events that never happened,” the report said.
The video in question is an altered version of a speech delivered by Biden in Kansas City, on Saturday, 7 March. “It was shared on Twitter by Scavino, only edited to make it appear as if Biden inadvertently endorsed Trump for reelection,” The Washington Post report says.
In the edited version Biden can be seen saying, “Excuse me. We can only re-elect Donald Trump.” While in the original video Biden said, “Excuse me. We can only reelect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It’s gotta be a positive campaign.”
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE POLICY?
The WaPo report points out that Twitter labelled Scavino’s tweet at 5 pm on Sunday, 8 March, 18 hours after the video was tweeted. By that time the video had at least 5 million views and more than 21,000 retweets.
Multiple technical glitches were also reported. One being that the label was not showing when people searched for Scavino’s tweet.
After social media platforms were were blamed for influencing 2016 US Elections with the use of fake news, there are multiple methods being used by the tech companies to combat misinformation ahead of 2020 elections.
“But the companies are not acting in tandem and their policies are inconsistent. Facebook, too, has a policy for manipulated video, and says it will remove deepfake videos that meet certain criteria. It also has partnerships with third-party fact checkers, and applies labels to videos those organizations determine are false,” WaPo report states.