Ever since President Trump took office, journalists and politicians have framed many of his viral tweets as “doctored” – a characterization that positions them as being manipulated with the intent to deceive.
A few days ago, Twitter announced a new rule that plays into this narrative and said it would be labeling or removing some “synthetic or manipulated media.”
And now, journalists and politicians are calling for this new rule to be used to censor one of President Trump’s tweets.
The tweet that’s the target of their efforts features clips of Trump’s recent State of the Union speech interspersed with clips of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tearing up a paper copy of the speech.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
As with many of Trump’s previous tweets, journalists and politicians are claiming that this tweet is deceptive and misleading and many are urging Twitter to take it down.
Their basis for these claims is that Pelosi ripped up the speech at the end of the State of the Union and that interspersing this clip with other moments from the speech is somehow misleading.
This very cleverly (and deceptively) edited video just tweeted out by @realDonaldTrump savages @SpeakerPelosi for tearing up his #SOTU speech, and sure appears to violate @Twitter's new ban on videos that are fabricated or altered to mislead. https://t.co/4sXLd8FP0d
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) February 6, 2020
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) February 7, 2020
This video is clearly another deceptive effort by @realDonaldTrump to mislead and manipulate the American people.
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) February 7, 2020
Social media platforms are a place where people come for news & information.
They need to have certain standards.
Falsity has never been part of our 1st Amendment tradition. https://t.co/dwiDeKNd3D
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) February 7, 2020
— The Verge (@verge) February 7, 2020
Twitter responded to journalists' questions by noting that its synthetic or manipulated media policy comes into effect on March 5.
While Facebook and YouTube both confirmed that this video doesn’t violate its rules, Twitter refused to say whether this tweet would be in violation of its new rules.
Twitter’s announcement of these synthetic or manipulated media rules comes several months after the platform announced it would start preventing likes, retweets, and replies on some tweets from Trump and other world leaders – another rule change that many fear will be used to censor Trump in the run up to the 2020 presidential election.