Even though President Donald Trump has tried to ban Tik Tok in the U.S. for months, the social media app actually aided the president after the first debate by spreading false information about Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
On Tuesday night, posts circulated on social media with low-quality footage from the debate suggesting that the former vice president wore a wire under his jacket.
The clips were shared across social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok. The grainy video was viewed more than 2 million times on Twitter and more than 290,000 times on Facebook by Wednesday morning. The videos also racked up more than half a million views on Tik Tok.
The videos were being promoted by conservative-leaning pages on Facebook and were briefly trending on Twitter with the hashtag #JoeWired with more than 60,000 tweets.
However, multiple media outlets show the controversial moment where Biden adjusts his suit jacket, revealing a crease on his shirt, not a wire.
Some posts zoomed in on Biden’s shirt near his lapel and others used photos and videos to capture something sticking out from under his shirt cuff.
Biden was actually wearing his late son Beau’s rosary beads on his wrist. Photos and video from the debate show the rosary peeking out of his cuff. Biden’s campaign told the Associated Press that the former vice president wore the rosary beads at the debate.
Beau Biden was an Iraq War veteran and died of brain cancer in 2015. He was only 46 years old.
TikTok said it would remove the viral Biden video after being contacted by The Washington Post.
Misleading Facebook ads by the Trump campaign also spread after the debate.
One ad encouraged people to “Check Joe’s Ears,” and asked, “why won’t Sleepy Joe commit to an earpiece inspection.” That ads and others were viewed between 200,000 to 250,000 times and marketed primarily to people over 55 in Texas and Florida.
The ad originated from a New York Post reporter who cited a single anonymous source and claimed that Biden needed the assistance of an earpiece. The Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News.
Facebook spends an enormous amount of money combatting falsified articles and posts, but the social media conglomerate does not fact check political ads.