The Democratic Party flagged a post retweeted by President Trump and asked Twitter — on behalf of the Joe Biden campaign — to take action, according to a new report.
“It was the Democratic National Committee that flagged the video to Twitter, the party committee told The Daily Beast, as part of their program to clamp down on the spread of disinformation in 2020,” The Daily Beast reported.
“This is an example of our ongoing disinformation work, and the same thing that we do for every campaign,” a DNC official said, adding that they “flag activity to each of the campaigns, and have set them up with tools to receive regular activity alerts themselves.”
Speaking to The Daily Beast about their disinformation strategy, a Biden campaign adviser said that their more publicly hands-off approach was by design. The campaign, the adviser said, is partially relying on — and working with — reporters to police content that they flag for being inaccurate or misleading, as part of an “earned media” approach towards correcting disinformation.
That strategy, according to the campaign, helped lead to Twitter, and eventually Facebook, labeling the video as either “manipulated media” or “partly false information” in what the campaign trumpeted as a first.
“We and others took action on a fact-checking front in the press and in terms of directly appealing to Twitter,” the Biden campaign adviser said. “We lifted content online that showed it was false, from the media and generated by ourselves, in order to help achieve a drumbeat.”
Over the weekend, Twitter flagged a post retweeted by President Trump as “manipulated media,” the first time the social media giant has targeted the president for such action.
The Twitter post came from Dan Scavino, the White House’s social media director, and showed former Vice President Joe Biden saying: “We cannot win this re-election, excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.”
Sleepy Joe💤in St. Louis, Missouri today:
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) March 8, 2020
Twitter formally unveiled a new policy last month that says media that has been “significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated” can be thusly labeled if the social media company determines it is deliberately misleading.
“You may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm,” the company said in a blog post. “In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context.”
The clip retweeted by Trump wasn’t “manipulated,” but it was cut off. Biden, speaking in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday, actually said, “We can only re-elect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here.”
The Trump camp said Team Biden is trying to intimidate social media platforms.
“Understandably, the Biden campaign has a strategic interest in intimidating social media companies into suppressing true and embarrassing video evidence of Joe Biden’s continued inability to communicate coherently — a sad truth that has been publicly noted by Democrats and media figures alike,” Trump campaign chief operating officer Michael Glassner wrote in the letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, general counsel Vijaya Gadde, and public policy director Carlos Monje.
“Still, it appears that many people employed by Big Tech corporations in Silicon Valley are assisting the Biden campaign by instituting a special ‘Biden protection rule’ that effectively censors and silences legitimate political speech Biden’s campaign and its supporters do not like,” he added in the letter, obtained by Fox News.