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His Brain? No. His Heart is a fake political advertisement for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign that features a photo of him smiling with a beam of light emanating from his heart alongside the text, “His brain? No. His heart.” The ad mimics real examples from his campaign with the message, “Approved by Joe Biden. Paid for by Biden for president.” After the image was uploaded to Instagram and Twitter, users began reposting it and photoshopping different elements to the design. Twitter subsequently banned many of these reposts for “violating its rules.” The meme shares many similarities to the fake Team Joe ads.
On April 21st, 2020, Instagram user Brad Troemel uploaded the original fake ad to his feed with the caption, “Holy fucking shit they’re actually running these as advertisements this is a level of DNC self-sabotage scientists only believed to be theoretical.” The post (seen below) received numerous comments from several users asking if it was real or fake, as well as over 4,200 likes.
The photo used in the image was taken by Salwan Georges, a photographer for The Washington Post, who snapped the image while Biden was at the Iowa State Fair on August 8th, 2019. In an article discussing the fake ad from April 23rd, 2020, The Verge cited the incorrect source of the original meme, despite Brad Troemel confirming he was the creator.
After the initial post, another Instagram user, huffdaddy76, reposted it to his feed on April 22nd, 2020, with the caption, “Or his uh, uh, you know that uh, that thing. #creepy Joe.” The comments on the post were mostly negative about Biden, but others also asked if it was real or not. This post was liked nearly 1,000 times.
The trend then appeared on Twitter, where it quickly began picking up steam as users reposted it or photoshopped various elements, like glowing eyes, onto the photo. On April 22nd, 2020, Twitter user RLewisReports can be seen tweeting the image, stating, “This campaign ad can't be real.” This tweet (seen below) received over 1,300 likes, 121 retweets and 52 comments.
Shortly after this, Twitter began banning or suspending accounts for spreading the image, claiming that it “violated our rules against posting misleading information about voting.” One such example was tweeted by Twitter user KristySwansonXO on April 23rd, 2020, following the ban of user iheartmindy after she tweeted the image. The tweet (shown below) includes the original post that got her banned, which received several replies from users who complained about the bans, claiming that the platform was biased or wrongfully suspending users.
In another tweet from Twitter user shoe0nhead, also on April 23rd, 2020, she posted examples of the platform locking accounts for sharing the image on their feeds. The post (seen below) received over 11,000 likes, 567 retweets and 186 comments.
OMG GUYS DON'T POST THE "NOT HIS BRAIN" BIDEN AD. AS SOON AS YOU POST IT IT GETS REMOVED AND YOUR ACCOUNT GETS LOCKED. NOT A JOKE. LOL pic.twitter.com/2ACGVkU4sI
— june (@shoe0nhead) April 24, 2020
Below the above post, several other users began testing whether or not their accounts would actually be banned by reposting the fake ad, many of which were photoshopped. Twitter user GabeTwoThousand replied stating that “If you deep fry it, you can beat the [algorithm].” His image (shown below) was liked 46 times and retweeted another 10 times.
On Reddit, the image was also reposted to a few different subreddits in the following days. Redditor _thisisforreddit posted a screenshot of the ad to the r/tumblr sub on April 23rd, 2020, that received over 4,500 upvotes and 105 comments before it was removed by moderators (seen below).
Brad Troemel's Response Video
Following the meme becoming a trend online that was discussed by numerous media outlets, Brad Troemel, the original creator of the fake ad, uploaded a video to his Instagram account on April 25th, 2020, where he discussed the response. The video includes information on how he started the meme, who shared it, and also how he was creator, despite no one (except KYM, who he mentions) actually citing him as the original artist behind it. The video (shown below) has since received over 52,000 views.
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