Biden's speech to Congress manipulated in clip

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on February 15, 2023 at 22:45
  • 2 min read
A video shared on social media shows Joe Biden appearing to say in his 2023 State of the Union speech that "capitalism is exploitation." But the clip has been misleadingly edited, removing the comment "without competition," distorting what the US president actually said, and the applause that follows was not from the same address to Congress.

"Wow, I can't believe Biden started the State of the Union like this. Powerful stuff," says the text accompanying a February 8, 2023 Instagram video in which he appears to make the statement about capitalism, followed by wild cheers. The same segment was shared on TikTok here and here.

Screenshot of an Instagram post taken February 15, 2023

But the clip has been manipulated.

The official White House video shows Biden's full remarks (at approximately 42 minutes) with a different message.

"Look, capitalism without competition isn't capitalism. It's extortion. It's exploitation," Biden is heard saying.

The comments follow Biden's initiative launched in 2021 aimed at promoting more competition in the US economy, focusing on a range of industries including pharmaceuticals, banks, airlines and internet service providers.

The clip being shared also shows enthusiastic applause from lawmakers and others in the audience following Biden's comment -- but these have been edited in, and are not from the 2023 State of the Union.

For example, a screenshot from the clip (below on the right) shows applause from First Lady Jill Biden, wearing a blue dress that is not the purple gown she wore to the 2023 speech.

US First Lady Jill Biden (C) and US Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (R) arrive for US President Joe Biden's State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2023 ( AFP / SAUL LOEB)
Screenshot from TikTok taken February 15, 2023



Senator Elizabeth Warren is seen clapping in the video wearing a purple jacket -- not the blue one she was photographed in at the event in 2023.

One segment of the 21-second clip shows Nancy Pelosi in the presiding chair, even though the Democratic congresswoman is no longer speaker and that seat was occupied by Republican Kevin McCarthy.

AFP has fact-checked other clips of Biden with audio or video manipulated, and other organizations have investigated similar fakes.

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