Facebook refuses to remove doctored Nancy Pelosi video


Factcheckers monitoring content on Facebook have put a “partly false” label on the latest video that it said was manipulated to make it appear as if the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, was drunk or drugged, but by Monday the social media giant had refused to remove the video from its platform.

The video had been circulating on Facebook since Thursday and by Sunday night had been viewed more than 2m times, CNN reported.

Another false video of the leading Democratic politician in Washington went viral on Facebook in May 2019. Pelosi at the time vociferously criticized Facebook for not taking the content down, instead simply adding a factchecking label to it.

And instead of removing the new video, Facebook has given it a warning label and it will get less promotion by its algorithm, but that still allows people to view it on the platform. Facebook has said it will also send an alert to those who have already shared the video, flagging the warning label on its accuracy.

The new video was shared on Facebook on Saturday, accompanied by a caption reading: “This is unbelievable, she is blowed out of her mind, I bet this gets took down!”

The 55-second clip has been taken from a press conference in May when Pelosi responded to press questions about comments Donald Trump made about the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, with whom he has had a long-running spat. Scarborough is a strong critic of the president.

Lead Stories, a member of Facebook’s independent factchecking network, factchecked the post on Sunday, noting that the “digitally slowed down to make it appear as if Pelosi was intoxicated”. The post now includes a “partly false information” message, which will significantly limit the video’s reach on the platform, according to Facebook policies. Individuals who shared the video will also receive a notification.

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“The original video revealed [Pelosi] was speaking and acting normally,” Lead Stories wrote in its assessment of the manipulated video.

A Facebook spokesperson told the Hill that the video did not meet the grounds for removal, based on company policies.

“Following an incident over a year ago with a previous video of Speaker Pelosi, we took a number of key steps, making it very clear to people on Facebook when a third-party factchecker determines content to be false and updating our policy to make explicit the kind of manipulated media we will remove,” the spokesperson said.

“And, as always, when a video is determined false, its distribution is dramatically reduced and people who see it, try to share it, or have already shared it, see warnings alerting them that it’s false,” the spokesperson continued.

Pelosi’s office did not immediately return a request for comment from the Hill.

“This is garbage Facebook,” Christine Pelosi, the daughter of the congresswoman, said in a tweet. “You ⁦@ChanZuckerberg⁩ and ⁦@sherylsandberg⁩ are profiting off fake and vile attacks – and you need to stop. Tell the truth: the video is completely false. Pull it down!”

Christine Pelosi
(@sfpelosi)

This is garbage @facebook. You ⁦@ChanZuckerberg⁩ and ⁦@sherylsandberg⁩ are profiting off fake and vile attacks – and you need to stop. Tell the truth: the video is completely false. Pull it down! #BreakUpFaceBook https://t.co/ljXpVCSOIC


August 3, 2020





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