Twitter Says New Rules Would Likely Mean Disclaimer For Mike Bloomberg’s Debate Video

A deceptively altered video tweeted Thursday by presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg would “likely” be labeled as manipulated media under new Twitter rules that take effect next month, according to a company spokesperson.

The video — which has already amassed nearly 2 million views and uses clips from Wednesday night’s debate among Democratic White House hopefuls — has been edited to change the other candidates’ responses to a question from Bloomberg.

“I’m the only one here that, I think, that’s ever started a business, is that fair?” Bloomberg asks. In the video, his remark is followed by 20 seconds of footage pulled out of context, showing Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg each reacting in silence, as crickets chirp in the background.

That’s not what happened. In reality, Bloomberg paused for a moment after asking his question, then proceeded to talk about his record as the former mayor of New York.

Twitter recently announced that starting March 5, it will add context labels to tweets containing “synthetic or manipulated media,” or remove such tweets if it determines that they “are likely to cause harm,” based on the following criteria: 

Had Bloomberg tweeted his video after the policy had gone into effect, Twitter would have likely attached a label to it, a spokesperson told HuffPost. 

The spokesperson’s willingness to so characterize Bloomberg’s clip contrasts with the company’s response to a similarly altered video from President Donald Trump just two weeks ago. 

On Feb. 6, Trump tweeted a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that was edited to make it appear as if she was ripping up Trump’s State of the Union speech as he was delivering, including at moments when he honored a veteran of World War II’s famed group of Black miliary pilots, known as the Tuskegee Airman, and other Americans. In fact, Pelosi ripped up her copy of the address just after Trump finished it.

At the time, Twitter declined to specify if the video would be labeled or removed under its forthcoming policy. “I can’t get into hypotheticals,” spokeswoman Katie Rosborough told CNBC.

The Bloomberg campaign, asked for comment on its video, said in a statement, “It’s tongue in cheek. There were obviously no crickets on the debate stage.”

Bloomberg’s performance in the debate in Las Vegas ― his debut at the forums ― was widely panned, as he struggled to respond effectively to harsh criticisms of his record on race relations, sexual harassment complaints, economic inequality and other issues.

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