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Bloomberg Debate Video Meme Has Social Media Titans Debating How to Police Political Speech

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Twitter and Facebook officials are unsure about what to do with a meme from Wednesday night’s Democrat primary debate that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s shared on his verified Twitter account.

The Hill reported that in the video the billionaire oligarch asks his rivals if they have ever launched a business. The video is a meme edited to show the other candidates being speechless on stage, with crickets chirping in the background.

A Twitter spokesperson informed The Hill on Friday, February 21, 2020 that the video would be labeled under the platform’s new manipulated media policy which will be unveiled on March 5. Under this new policy, Twitter may label or even delete media that is “deceptively” altered.

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On the other hand, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone revealed on Twitter that the same video posted on Facebook or Instagram would not receive the same label.

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Facebook’s policy on banning “deepfakes” — a term used to describe videos altered through the use of artificial intelligence, which appears to not be used in this case — includes exceptions specifically for satire.

The policy “does not extend to content that is parody or satire, or video that has been edited solely to omit or change the order of words,” Facebook claims.

Major social media platforms have been under fire for failing to take action on two viral edited videos. Once which involved footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slowing down to make her appear drunk and another video of former Vice President Joe Biden cut to make him look like he’s repeating white nationalist talking points.

In both cases, Facebook and Twitter did not take the videos down despite the outrage. Facebook featured the Pelosi video, while Twitter featured the Biden video.

Under Twitter’s new rules both videos would be labeled, whereas Facebook maintains that the aforementioned editing tactics are not in violation of its rules.

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Free Speech Organization FIRE Defends Kansas State Student Jaden McNeil From a Politically Correct Lynch Mob, KSU Will Not Expel the Student

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After Kansas State University student Jaden McNeil made a Tweet in jest about George Floyd last week, he came under fire from all angles — athletes, the student body, and university administrators.

Given the tense climate of American political discourse in 2020, there was speculation that he was about to be expelled from the university.

Nevertheless, online activism from the likes of staunch right-winger Michelle Malkin helped create sufficient pushback against the lynch mobs that were descending on McNeil.

Now, McNeil has even more backup with free speech organization The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) coming to his defense.

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FIRE sent KSU a resounding warning:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.

FIRE appreciates that Kansas State University is one of the few institutions in the country whose policies earn a ‘green light’ rating from FIRE. We write today in response to the University’s statement that it is reviewing its “options” concerning KSU undergraduate Jaden McNeil’s statement on social media.

KSU made a suggestive tweet in response to McNeil’s original tweet about Floyd:

 

A message from President Richard Myers: The insensitive comments posted by one K-State student hurts our entire community. These divisive statements do not represent for the values of our university. We condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms.

We are launching an immediate review of the university’s options. Black Lives Matter at Kansas State University and we will continue to fight for social justice.

Although McNeil was forced to delete his Tweet about George Floyd last week, sites like Revolver still maintained a record of it.

McNeil tweeted jokingly, “Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!”

FIRE’s letter served as a reminder to KSU that as a public university it is bound by the United States Constitution and is compelled to protect free speech per the First Amendment. Yes, even when it comes to offensive speech.

The letter added:

While McNeil’s tweets may be deeply offensive to many, they do not fall into a category of speech unprotected by the First Amendment, which strictly limits public universities like KSU from punishing protected expression.

The entire statement can be read on Michelle Malkin’s twitter feed:

 

The stakes are high in 2020, as free speech hangs in the balance thanks to relentless pressure from the PC Left and Big Tech.

If the Right loses this battle, all other rights —right to bear arms all the way to the freedom of association — will be ripped to shreds.

The good news is that KSU announced that it will not expel McNeil over his Tweet. But the fight is far from over.

Anyone who values American freedoms should stand in solidarity with McNeil.

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