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Video of Biden with reporters was not digitally altered

March 17, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Video of President Joe Biden was digitally altered to make it appear that he spoke to the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on March 16, and a blurry microphone in the shot proves the video was manipulated. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Multiple cameras captured the interaction between the president and the press. Video obtained by The Associated Press shows the video in question is authentic. The same video at higher resolution shows the microphone in question was much clearer than it appeared in social media uploads. The AP also took photos of the interaction that captured the microphone in question. 

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THE FACTS: On Wednesday, false claims circulated on Twitter and TikTok stating that a video of Biden talking to reporters before boarding Marine One, had been doctored to make it appear that he took questions from the press. Biden was on his way to Chester, Pennsylvania to highlight how his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package can help boost small businesses. 

In the uploaded video, a boom mic appears blurry, and multiple Twitter users claimed that the mic had been digitally edited into the video because of how Biden’s hand appeared to reach over the mic. Some social media users, including a TikTok post with 2.4 million views, claimed Biden was standing in front of a green screen. 

“Look at Biden’s hands and the reporter’s fuzzy microphones in the foreground at 0:10. This footage has been digitally altered,” one Twitter post falsely stated. 

“Biden Fakes Interview, Green Screen Fails,” falsely claimed a YouTube video with more than 370,000 views. 

But the interaction captured in the video was real and was documented by multiple media outlets. An Associated Press photo also shows the same mic, as does a video uploaded by The Washington Post that was shot at a different angle. 

The AP obtained a higher resolution version of the clip filmed by a White House pool videographer, which shows that the microphone was not as blurry as it appeared in videos that circulated on Twitter and TikTok. 

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“There is no sign of manipulation or green-screening,” said Hany Farid, a professor who focuses on digital forensics at the University of California, Berkeley. “In this higher resolution version, I see where the strange movement of the one mic comes from, but I think all that is happening is the mic is coming from below and President Biden reaches over it.”

Farid noted that false claims like this one are not new.

“There were similarly unfounded claims that Trump was releasing green-screened videos -- this silly claim seems to be bipartisan,” Farid said.  

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536