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

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.

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.

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.