Twitter and Facebook took down a doctored video posted by President Donald Trump that showed the interaction of two toddlers, one black and one white, after receiving notices that the footage was a copyright violation.
“We received a copyright complaint from the rights holder of this video under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have removed the post,” said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone.
The video also disappeared from Trump’s Twitter feed, with a notice that “this media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.”
On Thursday, Twitter labeled the video “manipulated media.” It was edited footage of a video that went viral last year of the two toddlers hugging.
CNN covered the video last year, featuring the two toddlers giving each other hugs. One of the boy’s dads, Michael Cisneros, was quoted as saying, “If it can change someone’s mind, you know, or just change their view on things, then it’s totally worth it.”
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But Trump tweeted out a video on Thursday in which the footage was re-edited as part of a broader attack on the media. It at first showed one of the boys chasing the other, with a fake CNN graphic and the chyron, “Terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby.” Then the rest of the video is shown, to try to make the claim that CNN traffics in “fake news.”
After Trump posted the video, Cisneros posted a message on his Facebook page on Thursday, HE WILL NOT TURN THIS LOVING, BEAUTIFUL VIDEO TO FURTHER HIS HATE AGENDA!! !! !! !!”
CNN also issued a statement on the president’s tweet. “CNN did cover this story – exactly as it happened. Just as we reported your positions on race (and poll numbers). We’ll continue working with facts rather than tweeting fake videos that exploit innocent children. We invite you to do the same. Be better,” the network said in a statement.
Jukin Media said that they filed a takedown notice on behalf of the video’s creator, who was Cisneros. “The video belonged to one of its video partners and that they believed that it was “a clear example of copyright infringement without valid fair use or other defense,” the company said.
Courts have ruled that legal “fair” use of copyrighted material without an owner’s permission depends on a variety of factors, including whether the original clip had been transformed into something with a new meaning.
Meanwhile, at the White House press briefing on Friday, CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta had an exchange with Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany over the president’s use of the video.
Acosta asked, “Why is the President sharing fake videos on Twitter about two toddlers who are obviously showing a lot of love for one another? It seems as though he’s exploiting children to make some sort of crass political point. Why is he sharing fake videos?”
She responded, “He was making a point about CNN, specifically. He was making a point that CNN has regularly taken him out of context. That, in 2019, CNN misleadingly aired a clip from one viewpoint repeatedly to falsely accuse the Covington boys of being, quote, ‘students in MAGA gear harassing a Native American elder.’ That’s a harassing video, a misleading video about children that had really grave consequences for their futures.”
Acosta followed up.
“So you’re saying it’s okay to exploit two toddlers hugging one another on a sidewalk to make some sort of political point? The President has described members of the press as ‘fake news’ during the course of this administration. When you share fake videos like that, doesn’t that make you fake news?”
“I think the President was making a satirical point that was quite funny if you go and actually watch the video,” she answered.