Confused by This Anti–Joe Biden Meme? The Creator Says You Just Don’t Get the Joke – By Ali Breland (Mother Jones) / April 28 2020
Before being censored by Twitter, the way the image was shared blurred the line between parody and misinformation.
According to Brad Troemel, anyone who didn’t get that the fake Biden ad he made was a work of satire was just missing the joke.
Last Wednesday, Troemel, a Brooklyn-based artist, made and posted the latest entry in what he describes as a regular “art practice of crafting weapons-grade liberal cringe” memes. This one was a fake, but plausibly high-grade, ad bearing a glowing image of Joe Biden with superimposed text reading “His Brain? No. His Heart.”
Satire and parody works by artists have long caused headaches for tech platforms.
Troemel’s posts usually earn hundreds or even thousands of likes, but this one went much further. Both Biden and Trump supporters shared the meme, making a small Twitter account’s post of it alongside the words “100% real” go viral. Former Trump campaign adviser Karen Giorno tweeted it, writing, “No joke. This is a real ad approved by @JoeBiden for President. Just to be clear…the Biden Campaign wants us to know that they know that we know he has dementia but we should elect him anyway because he has…wait for it…HEART?!?!”
Over the weekend, Twitter took enforcement action on the image, appearing to block users from posting or reposting the image. A Twitter spokesperson said the company had ruled that the meme violated its Elections Integrity Policy, which bans content that misrepresents having an affiliation with a campaign. While the policy has exceptions for parody, they specifically carve out parody accounts, not parody content. The spokesperson declined to answer more detailed questions about how the image violated its policy.