The Trump Campaign Shared a Biden Video So Deceptive It Was Flagged as False by Facebook and Twitter

Under pressure from the Biden campaign, Facebook finally flagged the video as "partly false."
March 9, 2020, 11:13am
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Facebook on Monday flagged a video that appears to show Joe Biden endorsing Donald Trump as featuring “partly false information,” hours after the former vice president’s campaign accused the social network of “malfeasance.”

Facebook’s decision came hours after Twitter took similar action, enforcing new rules introduced last month to tackle fake and misleading content.

The clip of a speech Biden gave on Saturday was shared on Twitter that day by Donald Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino, and boosted significantly when the president retweeted the video to his 73.5 million followers later in the day, adding: “I agree with Joe.”

To date, the video has been viewed more than 6 million times on Twitter alone.

The video appears to show Biden saying: “We can only re-elect Donald Trump.”

But the clip had been selectively edited to remove critical context at the end of the sentence. What Biden said in full was this: "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."

(Scavino also incorrectly claimed the speech was made in St. Louis, when it actually happened in Kansas City. Biden did deliver a similar line in a speech in St. Louis earlier in the day.)

On Sunday, Twitter decided that the video was a breach of its new misinformation rules, and flagged the video as “manipulated.” It’s the first time the company has applied the label after it introduced new guidelines around fake or misleading videos in February.

Facebook initially appeared to refuse to follow suit, a decision that angered the Biden campaign.

READ: Trump supporters are hyping a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi appearing drunk

“Facebook’s malfeasance when it comes to trafficking in blatantly false information is a national crisis in this respect,” Greg Schultz, Biden’s campaign manager, said in a statement on Sunday evening.

“It is also an unconscionable act of putting profit above not just our country, but every country,” he added. “Facebook won’t say it, but it is apparent to all who have examined their conduct and policies: They care first and foremost about money and, to that end, are willing to serve as one of the world’s most effective mediums for the spread of vile lies.”

But by Monday morning, the video was flagged as “featuring partly false information” after it was checked by independent fact-checkers.

“The information in this post is a mix of true and false statements or it could simply be incomplete. In some cases, the information is misleading,” a message on the post reads.

READ: It’s official: Facebook’s fact-checking is making its fake news problem even worse

“We are reducing its distribution and showing warning labels with more context for people who see it, try to share it, or already have.” a spokesperson for the social network told VICE News.

Trump supporters have slammed the decision by social media to censor the video.

“This is ridiculous,” Liz Harrington, spokesperson for the Republican National Convention, said of Twitter’s decision. “Now you're not allowed to share Joe Biden *in his own words*. I guess we can only post his speeches in full.”

On Sunday night, Scavino simply said: “The video was NOT manipulated.”

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at New Hope Baptist Church, Sunday, March 8, 2020, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)