A misleading video clip of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has been spreading on social media without any warning labels since Saturday after having been promoted by members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
In the 24-second clip from an interview with the podcast Pod Save America, which is hosted by four former members of the Obama administration, Biden is heard saying, in part, that “we have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”
The clip was first posted by RNC Research, a Twitter account operated by the Republican National Committee.
It’s clear in context that Biden is talking about an effort to combat voter suppression and provide resources for those seeking to vote, not an organized effort to perpetrate voter fraud.
The clip is part of a longer response by the former Vice President to a two-part question from host Dan Pfeiffer about Biden’s message to people who haven’t voted and those who already have.
In his response, Biden encouraged people to “make a plan exactly how you’re going to vote, where you’re going to vote, when you’re going to vote. Because it can get complicated, because the Republicans are doing everything they can to make it harder for people to vote, particularly people of color, to vote…”
He continued a few sentences later: “We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics. What the President is trying to do is discourage people from voting by implying that their vote won’t be counted, it can’t be counted, we’re going to challenge it…”
Biden goes to explain that his campaign has arranged for legal assistance for people who feel their right to vote has ben challenged.
On Saturday evening, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany posted the shortened clip from her personal Twitter account saying: “BIDEN ADMITS TO VOTER FRAUD!”
Fact-checking website Snopes debunked the claim as false.
McEnany’s post has been retweeted more than 32,000 times. The clip has been viewed 7.9 million times on Twitter. Eric Trump also posted the video on both Twitter and Facebook without any false commentary.
President Trump’s verified YouTube account also posted the clip, with the title: “Joe Biden brags about having ‘the most extensive and inclusive VOTER FRAUD organization’ in history.” It’s been viewed nearly 500,000 times.
A Twitter spokesperson said it will not label the tweets by McEnany or Eric Trump. The social network did not provide further detail.
Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the platform has not added any information labels or fact-checking resources to the clip.
According to Twitter’s rules, users may not “deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm.” However, it’s unclear if a clip taken out of context, but not technologically manipulated, would fall into this category.
Facebook’s manipulated media policy states users should not post video that has been “edited or synthesized … in ways that are not apparent to an average person, and would likely mislead an average person to believe that a subject of the video said words that they did not say.”
A YouTube spokesperson said the video does not violate its rules.
“While the video shared with us by CNN does not violate our Community Guidelines, we have robust policies prohibiting deceptive practices such as technically manipulating content in a way that misleads users (beyond clips taken out of context) and may pose egregious harm.” said Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Biden’s national press secretary TJ Ducklo said: “The President of the United States has already demonstrated he’s willing to lie and manipulate our country’s democratic process to help himself politically, which is why we have assembled the most robust and sophisticated team in presidential campaign history to confront voter suppression and fight voter fraud however it may present itself.”
When asked if the RNC stood by the clipped video, and if it’s the official position of the RNC that Biden was endorsing and explicitly encouraging voter fraud, RNC Rapid Response Director Steve Guest said: “You should ask Joe Biden if he stands by the words he uttered, not us for sharing them. It’s not the RNC’s responsibility to clarify for the Biden campaign their candidate’s repeated blunders.”