The ads feature fake photos showing Biden with an “Apple-style white earpiece in his right ear.”
Some of the still images also feature a white circle around the Democrat’s ear and are clearly meant to suggest that he wore a wire during his first face-off against Trump.
“Joe’s BEGGING for breaks during the debate! CHECK JOE’S EARS! He REFUSED drug test & DECLINED an earpiece inspection,” one ad says.
“WHO IS IN JOE’S EAR?” another one asks.
The ads have been seen millions of times, per Facebook data.
As the publication noted, the “image of Biden wearing an earpiece is not authentic. The image was manipulated to add the earpiece to a real photo that shows Biden without an earpiece.”
In a statement, Trump’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, said that the ads are “obvious satire” and an attempt to ridicule the Biden team’s refusal to accept a pre-debate earpiece inspection.
Satire or not, the advertisements feed into a conspiracy theory that Biden wanted to use an earpiece to get help from advisers as he debated Trump.
Following the debate, the baseless theory spread like wildfire on social media. Notably, Hollywood actor James Woods tweeted a video that accused the Democratic nominee of wearing a wire.
Woods’ tweet was shared and liked by tens of thousands of Twitter users. Forbes fact-checked these claims, establishing that the “wire” Woods and others saw Biden wearing was merely a crease in his shirt.
Nevertheless, the unfounded claim quickly spread to other social media platforms.
As NBC News reporter Ben Collins pointed out, the “earpiece conspiracy theory (which originated in a tweet from a single anonymous source to a NYPost reporter, and was instantly denied by the campaign) is everywhere on Facebook. Absolutely everywhere.”
Per CNN, Trump’s team has previously used similar tactics to attack and denigrate Biden, spreading fake and deceptively edited photos and videos in an apparent effort to portray the Democrat as senile.
Trump and his allies have long alleged that the former Delaware senator is cognitively impaired and unfit for office.
The president went as far as to suggest that his opponent is using mind-enhancing drugs. In fact, before the debate, he called for himself and Biden to submit to drug tests.
In contrast, as The Hill reported, after Trump announced that he had coronavirus, the Biden campaign took down all negative advertisements.