Type to search

TikTok Allowing Manipulated Videos of Biden, Media Monitor Says

Altered videos of Biden with audio added to depict him receiving profanity-filled jeers are spreading on TikTok, which has failed to meet its vow to disclose when fake content is shown, a media watchdog says

TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration
(Reuters image from 2022).


TikTok has been accused of allowing users to post manipulated videos of US President Joe Biden without disclosing that the video has been altered.

Media Matters For America (MMFA), a not-for-profit group that monitors misinformation in the media, posted a report on Thursday that said: “Deceptively altered videos of President Joe Biden with audio added to depict him receiving profanity-filled jeers are spreading on TikTok without any labelling or disclosure, seemingly violating the platform’s policies.”

The group said it had “found multiple videos on TikTok that depict Biden with altered audio and do not have any labels or disclosure about the alteration.” Most were less than 60 seconds long.


ALSO SEE: Bank of Japan ‘Spent $59 Billion Lifting Yen’ 3.5% This Week

MMFA said TikTok’s community guidelines say manipulated media that shows realistic scenes must be clearly disclosed” with a warning such as ‘fake’, ‘not real’, or ‘altered’ and that material that has been edited in a way that may mislead a person about real-world events” is not allowed.

But it noted that “TikTok has a history of falling short when it comes to moderating AI-generated or deceptively altered content.”

“Deepfake videos promoting bitcoin scams, sketchy health products, and AI-generated conspiracy theories have proliferated on the platform, along with other deceptively edited videos of politicians,” it said.

MMFA noted that another fact-checking site – Snopes – and a prominent news group had found similar fakes designed to mock Biden.

“On April 29, Snopes identified a video of Biden’s April 17 visit to a Pittsburgh-area Sheetz convenience store, which was altered to include profanity-filled jeers and other heckling and was shared on social media. The inserted audio reportedly originated from a video taken by a protester heckling Biden’s motorcade during his 2023 visit to Maui.

“A separate USA Today investigation found that video of Biden visiting an Allentown, Pennsylvania, business was similarly altered with profanity-filled audio and posted on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) in January. While Biden did receive heckling during his visit, additional profanity was reportedly added to the video,” MMFA said.

Media Matters included images and text from 10 short videos that it said were digitally altered.


‘A playground for absurd conspiracy theories’

In a report last month, the group said TikTok was “becoming a playground for absurd conspiracy theories,” with tens of millions of people watching videos that make outrageous claims.

Some had AI voiceovers that sounded like well-known identities, such as commentator Joe Rogan, and appeared to have proliferated since the AI boom began last year.

They include reports that “scientists found a dragon frozen in ice”, an asteroid is on a course to hit the world in a few years time .. the US caught a vampire and tried to keep it secret … aliens built the pyramids, etc.

TikTok has a Creativity Programme that offers financial incentives for low-quality, engagement-driven content, and that had helped create a “cottage industry” – “the perfect environment for conspiracy theories to thrive”.

These videos were not regulated by the platform, MMFA said, unless they could cause significant harm. And they could be highly profitable.



In March 2023, when TikTok faced a political spotlight and its CEO appeared before a panel on Capitol Hill, the short-video app updated its content moderation policies with restrictions on sharing AI deepfakes, which had also spread on platforms such as X (Twitter) and Instagram.

News that it is failing to adhere to its own policies comes a week after Congress passed a law requiring Bytedance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, to divest its US operations within the next nine to 12 months or face a shutdown of its site.

TikTok said it will challenge that order in the US courts.


  • Jim Pollard



TikTok Employees Faced Questioning at US Borders – Forbes

TikTok Seen as Chinese Influence Tool by Most in US, Poll Finds

If Legal Fight Fails, ByteDance ‘Would Prefer to Shut TikTok in US’

Chinese Hackers Poised to Strike at US Infrastructure: FBI Director

Chinese Spies Targeting Dutch Tech: Intelligence Agency

‘If They Pass It, I’ll Sign It’: Biden Backs Bill to Ban TikTok

Suspicion And Mistrust Continuing to Shadow TikTok

TikTok Hit With $370m EU Fine Over Children’s Data Breaches


Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


AF China Bond