Jan 3, 2020 - Technology

Misleading Biden clip highlights Twitter policy concerns

In this illustration, a man holds an iphone as pixels cover his face

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A video selectively edited to frame one of Joe Biden's stump speeches as racist was shared by GOP strategists and a former speaker of the Missouri House, the New York Times reports, citing data from misinformation tracker VineSight.

Why it matters: Sharing misleading information via social media to incite anger toward presidential candidates is easy — and it works.

What to watch: Twitter's rules for dealing with videos like these, which can go viral for zapping context from a presidential candidate's words, are still being ironed out.

  • Twitter pointed to its in-progress policy on tackling synthetic or manipulated media when asked for guidelines on handling content that misconstrues or alters statements from politicians.
  • But, Twitter declined to comment as to whether the video of Biden would apply to its new policy, since the policy remains in development.

Background: As of now, Twitter has proposed defining manipulated or synthetic media as "as any photo, audio, or video that has been significantly altered or fabricated in a way that intends to mislead people or changes its original meaning."

  • Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy told Axios that the video of Biden "is not currently a violation of the Twitter Rules," which define terms for removing content.

Go deeper: Misinformation haunts 2020 primaries

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