- Twitter slapped its first “manipulated media” label on a video of Joe Biden that was posted by President Donald Trump’s social media director and retweeted by Trump himself.
- The video was edited to make it seem like Biden accidentally endorsed Trump while speaking at a campaign rally on Saturday.
- The move marks the first time Twitter has used the label since its new policy on synthetic and manipulated media went into effect on March 5.
- Facebook also later labeled the post as “partly false information,” but only after the video had been on the platform for nearly two days.
Twitter’s First “Manipulated Media” Label
Twitter applied its “manipulated media” label for the first time on Sunday to a video of former Vice President Joe Biden that was retweeted by President Donald Trump.
This is the first test case of Twitter’s new policy on synthetic and manipulated media, which was rolled out last month and went into effect on March 5.
Under the new rules, the platform’s users can not, “deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm.” Twitter also said it would label content that violates this policy.
The video, first posted by Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino, consists of a clip of Biden speaking at a campaign rally on Saturday that was edited to make it seem like the 2020 frontrunner was accidentally endorsing Trump.
In the 13-second clip, Biden appears to stumble over his words before the video cuts out with him saying, “We can only reelect Donald Trump,”
But the video was cut before Biden finished his sentence. In reality, Biden’s full remarks were: “We can only reelect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It’s got to be a positive campaign, so join us.”
Twitter’s first official implementation of its new policy did not go off without its fair share of problems.
According to reports, Twitter did not determine that the post violated its guidelines until after the video had been up for around 18 hours. By that point, the video had been viewed more than 5 million times and retweeted more than 20,000 times.
There was also a glitch with the “manipulated media” label itself.
Speaking to The Verge on Sunday, a Twitter spokesperson said that the “manipulated” tag was not showing up in the tweet details, so users who clicked into the tweet itself may not be able to see the label, though it was visible in the timeline.
The spokesperson also told The Verge that Twitter was working on fixing the glitch.
Twitter was not the only social media giant under the microscope. Scavino also shared the post on Facebook, roping the embattled tech company into the fray.
Facebook did not initially label or do anything to the post, which prompted Biden’s campaign manager, Greg Schultz, to blast the company in a statement Sunday night.
“Facebook’s malfeasance when it comes to trafficking in blatantly false information is a national crisis in this respect,” Schultz said.
“Facebook won’t say it, but it is apparent to all who have examined their conduct and policies: they care first and foremost about money and, to that end, are willing to serve as one of the world’s most effective mediums for the spread of vile lies,” he added.
Facebook eventually did add a label to the video on Monday morning, marking it as “partly false information.”
“Fact-checkers rated this video as partly false, so we are reducing its distribution and showing warning labels with more context for people who see it, try to share it, or already have,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
“As we announced last year, the same applies if a politician shares the video, if it was otherwise fact-checked when shared by others on Facebook.”
Facebook has come under the most fire of any social media platform for its policies surrounding political speech and misinformation. Now, with Twitter’s new policies in play, it will be interesting to watch where the two come together and diverge.
While Facebook has been criticized by the left for being too lax when it comes to Trump, Twitter’s decision to label a video posted by someone on Trump’s team and retweeted by the president himself is quite significant.
It not only sets a precedent for the kind of content Twitter will label, but it also shows that Twitter—at least for now— is not scared to crack down on Trump and his team.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (The Washington Post) (The Verge)
Is It Too Late for Kanye West to Run for President in 2020?
- Kanye West announced Saturday that he will be running for president of the United States in 2020.
- However, reports say he has not yet formally registered his campaign with the Federal Election Commission and has missed the deadline to file as an independent in at least six states.
- He technically still has time to meet other states’ fast-approaching filing deadlines, but some believe his announcement is just a promotional stunt for a new project or new music.
- Others believe that West, a known Trump supporter, is hoping to pull votes, specifically Black votes, away from former Vice President Joe Biden.
Kanye West announced that he is running for president in the 2020 U.S. election.
In a tweet posted on the Fourth of July, he wrote: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION”
That tweet was met with a ton of support, earning over 1 million likes by Monday morning and prompting responses from other notable figures. For instance, his wife Kim Kardashian retweeted the post with an American flag emoji, meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk commented “You have my full support,” beneath Kanye’s tweet.
You have my full support!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2020
If you’re familiar with West, you know that running for president is actually an idea he’s thrown around for some time now. In fact, he actually made headlines in 2015 after first announcing plans to do so at the MTV Video Music Awards.
However, he’s more recently suggested that he would actually run in 2024.
So for some, the new announcement wasn’t totally surprising, but of course, there were a bunch of people who criticized the move because Kanye has been very public about his support for President Donald Trump.
Because of that allegiance, some think Kanye running is an attempt to pull votes, specifically Black votes, away from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Aside from that argument, there are people who generally dislike Kanye for offensive comments he’s made in the past, like the time he suggested slavery was a choice. Meanwhile, others worry that people will vote for West to be funny.
Others believe his whole announcement is just a publicity stunt for a new project or new music. That’s because it comes off the heels of his new single “Wash Us in the Blood,” and follows the announcement of his new album, “God’s County.”
Can He Run?
On top of that, many pointed out that West hasn’t taken the necessary step he needs to run. According to CNN, West still needs to register with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), present a campaign platform, and collect enough signatures to get on the November ballot, among other things.
According to Ballotpedia, he’s already missed the deadline to file as an independent candidate in states like North Carolina, Texas, New York, Maine, New Mexico, and Indiana. He does still have time to file in several other states where deadlines are set for sometime in July and August if not later.
In the places where he was too late, he could technically run as a write-in candidate, though rules for write-in-candidates vary from state to state.
Ballotpedia states that, “33 states require a write-in presidential candidate to file some paperwork in advance of an election. In nine states, write-in voting for presidential candidates is not permitted. The remaining states do not require presidential write-in candidates to file special paperwork before the election.”
So, a real presidential run is not impossible at this point, but as of now, there aren’t any public filings that show that West is really moving to do so. Even if he does, people feel like he might not be fully aware of what he could be getting himself into
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee weighed in on Kanye’s announcement in a weekend appearance on Fox and Friends where he said, “Look, it’s a free country. He can certainly run. I think he’s going to be surprised to find out all of the incredible limitations upon his entertainment career the moment he becomes an official candidate for president.”
“All of the vast financial reporting that he’s going to be required to do and all of the disclosures, some of which are not going to be pleasant for someone in the entertainment industry, and all of the limitations on the money he can earn and how he can spend it. I think it’s going to be a rude awakening,” he continued.
As of now, West has not made any further statements regarding his plans to run for president.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (NBC News) (CNN)
Federal Court Orders Immigration Officers to Stop Enforcing Trump’s Asylum Ban
- On Tuesday, a U.S. Circuit Judge in D.C. ruled that the Trump administration’s third-country asylum rule is illegal.
- That rule went into effect last year and bars immigrants from claiming asylum in the United States if they pass through another country on their way to the U.S.
- In his decision, Judge Timothy Kelly said the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not giving Americans enough time and opportunity to weigh in on policy changes.
- On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security ordered asylum officers to stop applying the policy for new applicants, as well as those currently awaiting a decision.
Judge Rules Third-Country Asylum Rule Illegal
The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday ordered asylum officers to stop applying a controversial asylum policy meant to greatly diminish the number of migrants seeking refuge at the United States’ southern border.
The announcement came a day after Timothy J. Kelly, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that the policy is illegal.
The policy, imposed by the Trump administration in July 2019, was aimed predominantly at Central Americans crossing through “third” countries to get to the U.S. border. For example, to get to the U.S. from Guatemala, migrants would first need to cross through Mexico.
Under that policy, if a migrant crossed through Mexico to get to the U.S. border, they would not be able to immediately qualify for asylum. In fact, to be able to even potentially qualify for U.S. asylum, they would first have to apply for and be denied asylum in Mexico.
Immigrant nonprofits and asylum seekers argued that the rule violated a number of laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act. That act generally allows anyone arriving to the U.S. to apply for asylum, though there are some exceptions for people with criminal records.
In his ruling, Kelly didn’t give a decision either way on the Immigration and Nationality Act. Instead, he agreed with immigrant rights groups that the Trump administration violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which requires that Americans be given ample time and opportunity to voice their opinions on policy changes.
In fact, Kelly ruled that the administration also gave an insufficient explanation as to why it didn’t allow the public to see and comment on a draft of the policy before it was enacted.
For its part, the Trump administration argued that it didn’t give advance notice of the third-country requirement because that would have triggered a surge of applicants seeking to evade the rule before it took effect.
However, Kelly said almost all of the government’s argument was based on one newspaper article from October 2018. That article suggests that when the Trump administration ended its policy of separating immigrant families at the border, the proportion of asylum seekers with children increased.
“There are many circumstances in which courts appropriately defer to the national security judgments of the Executive,” Kelly said in his decision. “But determining the scope of an APA exception is not one of them.”
This is not the first time Trump’s third-country restriction has been halted. Last July, a federal judge in San Francisco entered a preliminary injunction against the ban because of a “mountain” of evidence suggesting migrants couldn’t safely seek asylum in Mexico. In September, the Supreme Court then reversed that injunction and allowed the administration to keep enforcing the policy.
Praise From Immigrant Rights Groups
Following this ruling, ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt praised Kelly’s decision.
“The court properly recognized that the Trump administration has once again skipped important steps mandated by Congress to ensure transparency and input from the public,” Gelernt said. “This is yet another instance in which this administration has sought to bypass Congress where the lives of asylum seekers are at stake.”
Human Rights First executive Hardy Vieux also praised the outcome, saying that Kelly’s ruling “is proof that the administration cannot do an end-run around the law. In the United States of America, we follow the rule of law, even when it benefits asylum-seekers demonized by this administration.”
Conversely, the Justice Department stressed that Kelly’s ruling was “a matter of procedural mechanics.”
“It was not a ruling on the substance of the asylum policy,” an official added.
That much seems to be backed up by the basis of Kelly’s ruling, which was made because the Trump administration failed to follow procedure when announcing the policy. Therefore, the administration will likely try to appeal this decision.
Impact of New Ruling May Be Limited
The order handed down from DHS on Wednesday applies not only to new asylum applicants but also to applicants waiting to receive their final decisions.
Still, even as Kelly noted in his decision on Tuesday, the impact of this ruling appears to be limited—at least for now. That’s because DHS has already been turning away thousands of asylum seekers at the border.
Those restrictions began earlier this year in response to the coronavirus outbreak. In May, the Trump administration then extended the measure indefinitely, arguing that the move was necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In fact, according to The Washington Post, between March 21 and May 13, the U.S. granted asylum to just two people.
See what others are saying: (CBS News) (NBC News) (The Los Angeles Times)
Despite Limited Polling Stations, Kentucky Is On Track for Record-Breaking Voter Turnout
- Kentucky’s state primary is on track to see the highest voter turnout of any primary in the sate’s history, despite the fact the polling locations were slashed by 95%.
- During a normal election, there are around 3,700 polling locations, but on Tuesday less than 200 were open because of coronavirus precautions.
- Jefferson County, where Louisville is located, had one polling location for 600,000 voters. Because many of the state’s Black voters live there, some called it an attempt at voter suppression.
High Turnout Despite Limited Locations
Despite hiccups in big cities and incredibly limited polling stations, Kentucky is on track to see its highest voter turnout for a primary election, with Secretary of State Michael Adams projecting that over 1 million ballots were cast.
Prior to this, Kentucky’s largest primary turnout was in 2008 when the state saw 922,000 voters. In 2016, 670,000 voters turned out.
Adams released a statement saying that Tuesday’s election “offered the nation a model for success in conducting an election during a pandemic.” However, not everyone agrees with this.
The state slashed polling locations by 95%, going from 3,700 stations in a regular election to just under 200. Stations were limited due to fear over the coronavirus, but many thought it left the state’s voters with few options.
Much of the state’s Black population lives in Jefferson County, where Louisville is located. That county was left with just one polling location for its over 600,000 registered voters. Lexington, the second-largest city in the state, was also just left with one polling station.
Leading up to the election, the choice to limit voting locations so drastically was met with criticism from many politicians who saw this as a tactic of voter suppression that would disproportionately impact Black voters.
“Voter suppression is no longer billy clubs & Jim Crow. It’s closed polling sites + 6 hr waits w/o pay. COVID is no excuse,” said Georgia’s former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
“We must make it easier to vote—not harder,” Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted. “Our job is to fight racist voter suppression everywhere.”
Issues in Lexington and Louisville
Though turnout was strong, voters still saw a variety of issues. Voters in Lexington reported waiting in lines over an hour long. In Louisville, voters saw other issues like parking traffic, and the city’s sole polling station at the Kentucky Exposition Center locking its doors right as polls closed at 6:00 PM.
According to Joe Sonka, a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal, around 50 people were outside when the doors were locked. Voters eventually started banging on doors, demanding to be let in, as traffic made them slightly late to the location.
The Courier-Journal spoke to Don Hardison, a voter who was left outside. He told the paper that he spent 45 minutes in traffic before he could park.
“It’s our constitutional right that is being infringed on right now. I think it’s disingenuous at best that this is the only polling place in Jefferson County,” Hardison said. “It’s not (a) coincidence that this is a large urban population.”
It was not long until those voters were let inside the Exposition Center to vote. Charles Booker, a candidate for the U.S. Senate Democratic nomination, encouraged the voters to stay in line while he filed an injunction. Booker asked that the polls stay open until 9:00 PM, but the judge granted just a 30 minute extentsion.
According to CNN, this allowed another 100 voters to cast their ballots. Amy McGrath, who is running against Booker for the Democratic nomination, later tweeted that she was filing for the polls to stay open even later.
However, nothing more than the initial 30-minute extension was granted.
Results to be Called June 30
Results for Kentucky’s primary are still being counted. Many counties, including Jefferson County, have no results yet. The state also saw an influx of absentee voting. Over 800,000 were requested, and over 500,000 were received by Tuesday, with more on the way.
The races are expected to be called on June 30, when more of those absentee ballots are in. As of Wednesday afternoon, the New York Times projected that the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, was well ahead of Sen. Sanders for the presidential race.
The race between McGrath and Booker, which is more highly anticipated, is much closer. McGrath appeared to be around 8% ahead of Booker by Wednesday, though too few votes are in to call. The winner of this race will face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.