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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Donald Trump tweets doctored viral clip of toddlers, Twitter flags as ‘manipulated media’

There was a lot of outrage on social media about the tweet. CNN responded by asking Donald Trump to be better and many on social media asked for Twitter to take down the video instead of just labelling it.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | June 19, 2020 2:07:51 pm

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US President Donald Trump shared a bizarre video that included a CNN logo and ticker, claiming the news organisation reported on a viral video incorrectly. Twitter responded by labelling the video as “manipulated media” and many on social media criticised the US president for what they said was insensitivity. The video is an altered version of one that was widely shared on the internet in September 2019.

The spoof video retweeted by Trump was made by a Twitter handle @CarpeDonktum, which in its Twitter bio claims to be an “eternally sarcastic memesmith specializing in the creation of memes to support President Donald J. Trump.”

The doctored clip made it appear as if the video was a CNN report that featured the two toddlers running on a sidewalk. The ticker on the screen read: “Terrified todler (sic) runs from racist baby”. The clip also accused “fake news” of spreading misinformation.

The original video was shared on Facebook by the father of one of the children and had caused the toddlers named Finnegan and Maxwell to become internet sensations. In the video, they are seen running towards each other, embracing, and then running off together.

CNN journalists and various other media organisation which reported on the tweet flagged it as being fake. Soon after, Twitter added a warning label. This is the latest such label added by the company in recent weeks. Twitter earlier fact-checked misinformation from a Trump tweet, and added a note of warning about a tweet that it said glorified violence. Recently, Twitter also disabled a video from the Trump campaign in tribute to George Floyd.

CNN’s official handle responded to Trump’s tweet saying they reported the incident “exactly as it happened” and criticised the US president for using innocent children to attack the press. They also urged him to “be better”.

“CNN did cover this story – exactly as it happened. Just as we reported your positions on race (and poll numbers). We’ll continue working with facts rather than tweeting fake videos that exploit innocent children. We invite you to do the same. Be better,” CNN wrote.

Many on Twitter were angered by the post and criticised Trump. Many wondered if the president was trying to suggest that racism doesn’t exist in America. Many also demanded that the video be taken down.

After Twitter started fact-checking his tweets, Trump threatened to regulate or shutter social media companies. Later, he signed an executive order aimed at removing certain protections for social media platforms that aim to safeguard them from any liabilities arising out of the content that is posted on their websites. The order gives federal regulators the agency to take action against online platforms that are seen to be censoring free speech.

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