Last year, Twitter drafted a rule to hopefully combat the pervading issue of deepfakes. It was utilized for the first time over the weekend to unexpected effect, being slapped on a video of Joe Biden edited by White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino that seemingly portrays him claiming, “we can only reelect Donald Trump.” Trump later shared the video to his own Twitter feed.
In reality, Biden says, “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.” His phrasing is awkward enough to be misinterpreted in its own right. The would-be presidential nominee has made several gaffes and strange speeches over the last week, including a bizarre claim during a campaign speech in Missouri in which he deemed himself an “O-Biden Bama Democrat.”
The “manipulated media” label appears to be experiencing a glitch already, only displaying when a tweet passes a user’s timeline and not within any searches. This means if someone was searching for Biden or Trump on Twitter and came across the video, it wouldn’t be displayed as doctored footage and would instead be displayed as any other tweet. Twitter is reportedly working on a fix for the bug.
Facebook, conversely, did not flag the video. Biden’s campaign manager Greg Schultz had some strong words for the social media platform, telling the New York Times, “Facebook’s malfeasance when it comes to trafficking in blatantly false information is a national crisis in this respect.”