Social media platform Twitter has once again cracked down on a tweet by US President Donald Trump, this time marking it ‘Manipulated Media’. The latest tweet, posted a few hours ago, shows what is an altered version of a popular video that went viral on social media last year, which shows a black toddler and a white toddler hugging. In the video clip that Trump shared in the tweet, the video starts with the black toddler seemingly running away from the white toddler, with overlays on the video very reminiscent of the graphics that television network CNN uses. The on-screen graphics host the headline “Terrified toddler runs from racist baby”, complete with the CNN logo. The video that Trump posted goes on to show “what actually happened”, which was the two toddlers ran up to each other on the sidewalk, hugged and then played together for a while. The video Trump posted signs off by saying “America is not the problem. Fake news is”.
Twitter’s description of the ‘Manipulated media’ tag says, “Multiple journalists confirmed that the video, which was shared by President Trump, is edited and features a fake CNN chyron. The original CNN story, which is from 2019, reported on a friendship between two toddlers.” It was in September 2019 that CNN had first reported this video of the friendship between the two toddlers, which later vent viral on social media. The tweet posted in the early hours of today has since seen 232.8K likes and 114.1K retweets at the time of writing this.
Twitter’s policy on what it called manipulated media states, “You may not deceptively promote synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context.” Twitter also gave an official clarification. “This tweet has been labeled per our synthetic and manipulated media policy to give people more context,” Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough told The Washington Post.
This is the third time that Twitter has labeled tweets posted by Donald Trump in the past few weeks. The previous instances include the claims about mail-in ballots and the tweet that carried the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, the latter specifically for violating the terms on violent content. The latter had been posted when the Black Lives Matter protests were taking place across the US and in other parts of the world as well, after the video of the death of George Floyd while in police custody.