Manipulated Media – Do Labels Matter?

This week, Twitter created a new policy and applied it to an edited video of Joe Biden that a White House official posted, and of course, President Trump retweeted.  The material was not original – it had been tampered with. The video triggered Twitter to create a new policy banning the use of synthetic or manipulated media. In other words, videos that were not original would be in violation.

Twitter has faced push-back from activists citing First Amendment rights and the difficulty in identifying what is “fake” versus what isn’t. Their policy reads:

“You may not deceptively share 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.”

The criteria Twitter laid out include: 1. Is the content synthetic or manipulated?  2. Is the content shared in a deceptive manner?  3. Is the content likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm?

The best form of punishment for creating deceptive messaging, however, is not retweeting in disgust, but silence. According to former Twitter employee Nathan Hubbard, “Hot Twitter tip from someone who worked there: every time you retweet or quote tweet someone you’re angry with, it *helps* them. It disseminates their B.S.! Hell for the ideas you deplore is silence. Have the discipline to give it to them.”

We hope you enjoy our discussion of the behavioral science implications of Twitter’s new policy.

© 2020 Weekly Grooves

Tim Houlihan: @THoulihan

Kurt Nelson, PhD: @WhatMotivates


AIRDATE: March 13, 2020 EPISODE 10

Manipulated Media – Do Labels Matter?