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Twitter Labels Video of Biden Retweeted by Trump ‘Manipulated’

Joe Biden speaks at his South Carolina primary-night rally in Columbia, S.C., February 29, 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Twitter applied its “manipulated media” label on Sunday to a video of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden that was retweeted by President Trump.

The video showed Biden during a speech in Kansas City, Mo. and was edited to make it appear as if the gaffe-prone Biden accidentally endorsed Trump for reelection. The video was shared by White House social-media director Dan Scavino, and Trump retweeted his tweet.

In the altered video, Biden appears to fumble a line and then say, “Excuse me. We can only re-elect Donald Trump.”

The unedited version of the video gives the rest of the context of the former vice president’s remark. Biden says, “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.”

The instance marked the first time the social media giant has used the new “misleading” label, which it introduced as a way to flag material that is faked or manipulated, including “deepfakes.” The label was applied around 5 p.m. However, the introduction of the label suffered technical issues, with the label not appearing for some Twitter users who searched for the video. A Twitter representative said the company is working to solve the issue.

Twitter took heat for negligence during the 2016 election cycle when it allowed Russian actors, among others, to spread misinformation and attempt to sow discord on the site. Since then, the platform has taken steps to crack down on inaccurate information on the site, in particular related to elections.

Biden has overtaken Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to retake front runner status in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination to beat Trump in November after winning the South Carolina primary last month and later a slew of other states on Super Tuesday. Biden is currently polling at 50 percent, above Sanders’s 35 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

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