Twitter took the rare step of pinning a “manipulated media” warning to a tweet from President Donald Trump, who reposted an old, remixed viral video of two toddlers, one who is black and one who is white, greeting each other with a hug on a New York City sidewalk.
In the video shared by Trump, the portion of the video where the two toddlers are playfully chasing each other is displayed first, with the addition of suspenseful music and two CNN chyron banners that suggests one of the children is probably “racist” and a Trump supporter. The video then pivots to “what actually happened,” showing the two toddlers running up to each other hugging, alongside a version of the song “[They Long To Be] Close To You,” and ends on a message to not trust “Fake News.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2020
The video, which was originally posted to Facebook, went viral last September and it was widely reported in the media that the two children are best friends. One of the parents later told Ellen Degeneres that the two children are fond of hugs, hence the hugging in the video.
Katie Rosborough, a spokesperson for Twitter, told The Washington Post on Thursday evening that the president’s tweet “has been labeled per our synthetic and manipulated media policy to give people more context.”
According to CNBC, the parents of the children have responded to Trump’s posting through Facebook, with one remarking that the president “will not turn this loving, beautiful video to further his hate agenda.” Another parent said she was “utterly shocked,” adding: “For all you Trump supporters, I hope that his use of their beautiful video in this way disgusts you.”
Clicking on the “manipulated media” warning label on Trump’s tweet sends users to the social media website’s synthetic and manipulated media policy page, which reads, in part: “You may not deceptively promote synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context.”
“You should be able to find reliable information on Twitter. That means understanding whether the content you see is real or fabricated and having the ability to find more context about what you see on Twitter. Therefore, we may label Tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated. In addition, you may not share deceptively altered media on Twitter in ways that mislead or deceive people about the media’s authenticity where threats to physical safety or other serious harm may result,” reads another portion of the company’s policy page.
As of publication, President Trump has not issued a public response to Twitter’s decision to hit him with the “manipulated media” label.
President Trump was struck with his first “manipulated media” warning earlier this year, when he retweeted a post from White House social media director Dan Scavino that showed former Vice President Joe Biden saying “we cannot win this re-election, excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.”
The video cut off the rest of Biden’s sentence, during which the candidate said “we can only re-elect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here.”
Sleepy Joe💤in St. Louis, Missouri today:
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) March 8, 2020
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