Twitter Flags Trump Tweet Parodying Biden ‘Despacito’ Disaster

September 17th, 2020 1:06 PM

Twitter proved — again — that it still can’t take a joke. This time the platform labelled a President Donald Trump tweet parody of former Vice President Joe Biden “Manipulated media.”

Biden played “Despacito” at a mid-September rally to pander to Hispanic voters. Then Trump shared a parody video where Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden instead appeared to play "F*ck Tha Police.”

Twitter didn’t find it funny, unlike pretty much everyone else.

Biden, “on his first trip to Florida as a POTUS nominee—pulled his phone out to play a bit of ‘Despacito’ following an introduction from Luis Fonsi himself at the event focused on Puerto Rican voters in the state,” Complex summarized

Trump had twice retweeted the video from The United Spot, first asking, “What is this all about?” And in his second tweet several hours later, Trump said, “China is drolling. They can’t believe this!”

Complex, like Twitter, appeared to interpret the retweet of the clip in bad faith:

On Tuesday night, Trump quote-tweeted a poorly edited version of the Biden clip that unconvincingly replaced “Despacito” with the N.W.A protest anthem. At the time of this writing, the tweet had been flagged by Twitter and now carries a ‘manipulated media’ warning.

The same article went on to add that “while the makers of the Trump-shared clip describe themselves as a ‘parody/satire’ channel, Trump's accompanying commentary (and, obviously, his track record) doesn't make it clear whether he believed the clip to be true and/or wanted to take advantage of the general state of confusion his less Twitter-knowledgeable supporters seem to live in.”

Twitter indeed has an infamous history of double-standards when it comes to misinterpreting political parodies as deepfakes or manipulated media. 

Pro-Trump meme creator Carpe Donktum’s video parodying CNN coverage was labelled by Twitter as “manipulated media” in June. 

This follows a clear pattern where Conservative satire ranging from the Babylon Bee outlet to figures such as Titania McGrath and Mini AOC have run into problems when they tried to parody liberals. 

The now disabled meme video, due to an alleged “report by the copyright owner,” depicted a fake CNN headline that stated, "TERRIFIED TODLER [sic] RUNS FROM RACIST BABY." The footage featured an African-American toddler being chased by a white toddler with seemingly ominous music playing in the background. The segment was followed by a clip of "WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED," which featured the same two children “running toward each other on a sidewalk before embracing as Harry Connick Jr.'s version of the Carpenters’ ‘Close to You’ plays,” NBC News summarized.

While the video was clearly intended as a hyperbolic parody of liberal media coverage, Big Tech and liberal journalists took it with utter seriousness. The parody video’s editor, Carpe Donktum, has since been permanently suspended from Twitter.

Twitter’s “Synthetic and manipulated media policy” states:

You may not deceptively promote 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.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact the FCC at 1-888-225-5322 and/or via the MRC’s FCC contact form to give your take on the petition filed by the Department of Commerce regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives.