Parent of toddler in ‘manipulated’ Trump video forces Facebook and Twitter to remove it

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US President Donald Trump listens during a roundtable meeting on seniors in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, DC, June 15, 2020. – President Donald Trump holds a roundtable discussion with senior citizens called Fighting for Americas Seniors on Monday. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

 (CNN) — Facebook and Twitter on Friday removed a video posted by President Donald Trump’s account that had twisted a viral video of two toddlers after one of the children’s parents lodged a copyright claim. The video had more than 4 million views on Facebook and more than 20 million views on Twitter before it was taken down.

The now-removed clip is a crude and misleading edit of a video that went viral last year which shows a Black child and a white child running to hug each other. The version posted to Trump’s account made it first appear as if the Black child was running away from the white child.

Jukin Media, a company that represents creators of videos including the parent who owns this video, said in a statement provided to CNN Business Friday afternoon, “Neither the video owner nor Jukin Media gave the President permission to post the video, and after our review, we believe that his unauthorized usage of the content is a clear example of copyright infringement without valid fair use or other defense.”

Jukin said in its statement that it had submitted a takedown request to Twitter. Jukin did not confirm it had sent the takedown request to Facebook, but Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, said “We received a copyright complaint from the rights holder of this video under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have removed the post.”

Twitter also confirmed it removed the video following a copyright claim.

The video was put on Trump’s Facebook account after he tweeted it Thursday night, the eve of Juneteenth, the oldest known holiday honoring the end of slavery in the United States.

Michael Cisneros, the father of one of the boys in the video, said last year he had posted the original video to social media because he thought it was a beautiful, candid moment to share in the midst of racism and hate in the world.

“The reason that it’s getting attention [is] because it is with a little black boy and a little white boy…But if it can change someone’s mind, you know, or just change their view on things, then it’s totally worth it,” Cisneros said last year.

The version of the video tweeted and posted by Trump first showed a part of the viral video in which one of the boys was chasing the other, which had been overlaid with a fake CNN graphic that read, “Terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby.”

The rest of the video — in which the two children run to embrace one another — is then shown.

Responding to Trump’s use of the video, Cisneros wrote in a Facebook post Thursday night, “HE WILL NOT TURN THIS LOVING, BEAUTIFUL VIDEO TO FURTHER HIS HATE AGENDA!! !! !! !!”

CNN Business has reached out to Cisneros for comment.

The clip Trump promoted suggested that CNN would have spun the viral video to make it appear negative.

In fact, CNN covered the full version of the viral video in 2019. The toddlers and their fathers also appeared on the “The Van Jones Show” on CNN.

Twitter labeled the video Trump tweeted as “manipulated media” shortly after he tweeted it Thursday night.

“This Tweet has been labeled per our synthetic and manipulated media policy to give people more context,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

Facebook also has a manipulated media policy. The company declined to comment on whether the video violated that policy. Facebook took no action until a copyright claim was filed.

A spokesperson for CNN responded to Trump’s tweet Thursday night, “CNN did cover this story – but exactly as it happened. Just as CNN has reported your positions on race (and your poll numbers). We’ll continue working with facts and invite you to do the same, rather than tweeting fake videos that exploit innocent children. Be better.”

Asked about the video Friday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she thought it was funny.

“I think the President was making a satirical point that was quite funny if you go and actually watch the video,” McEnany said during a press briefing.

Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, pointed out, “It seems as though he’s exploiting children to make some sort of crass political point.”

McEnany responded by claiming that Trump was “making a point about CNN specifically. He was making a point that CNN has regularly taken him out of context.”

The video Trump tweeted included a credit to @CarpeDonktum, who regularly publishes memes and parody videos supporting the President.

After Trump tweeted the video it quickly went viral on Twitter, racking up millions of views in less than two hours.

Twitter twice flagged Trump tweets over the past month. The labels Twitter puts on flagged tweets are relatively unobtrusive, but they have enraged the President and his supporters and even prompted Trump to sign an executive order targeting social media companies.

In May, Twitter labeled two Trump tweets that made false claims about mail-in ballots in California.

A few days later, Twitter labeled as a glorification of violence a Trump tweet in which he said, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Earlier on Thursday, Facebook removed ads run by the Trump campaign, saying the ads violated its policy against organized hate. The ads, attacking the leftwing group antifa, featured a symbol that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said was “practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps.”

The Trump campaign defended itself claiming the symbol was used by antifa activists. The ADL said in response that some antifa activists have used the symbol, but it is not particularly common.

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