Facebook says it will not remove doctored Pelosi video

Facebook on Friday said it is not planning to remove the doctored video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that has been slowed down to make it sound like she is slurring her words.

The video, which has reached millions of viewers, has been altered to make it seem as though Pelosi is sick or drunk, and it has accrued thousands of comments from viewers who seemingly do not realize it has been manipulated. Multiple right-wing groups and online personalities have been pushing the video across a broad swath of online platforms.

The video was first reported by The Washington Post on Friday. 

{mosads}The video can still be found all over Facebook and Twitter. One version on the Facebook page “Politics Watch Dog” had received 2.4 million views, over 47,000 shares and over 26,000 comments by Friday afternoon. 

The video of recent remarks from Pelosi has been slowed down significantly to make it appear as though she is drunk or unwell. 

The page “Politics Watch Dog” has been pushing back on accusations that it is promoting fake news, writing in a post on Thursday, “Just for the record we never claimed that Speaker Pelosi was drunk. We can’t control what the people in the comments think. It’s a free country.”

But the video emerges as Pelosi and President Trump engage in an escalating war of words over the House’s ongoing investigations into the White House. And experts have said the manipulated footage, which appears to have duped thousands of people, is only the beginning of online misinformation that will spread ahead of the 2020 elections.  

Facebook said it is reducing the distribution of the video on its News Feed. It also noted that a third-party fact-checker flagged the post as false, so the video will now be accompanied by a message noting that it has been marked as such. 

But the social media giant, which has faced enormous scrutiny for failing to stave off the scourge of misinformation on its platform, said the video itself does not violate its community standards.

A company representative said it is seeking to balance free expression and promoting a safe online community and believes reducing recommendations of inauthentic content strikes the balance. 

Twitter has also declined to take down the video, saying it does not violate their rules. YouTube opted to take it down, saying it did not garner a lot of interest on the site before it was removed.

The president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, retweeted the doctored video of Pelosi on Thursday before promptly deleting the post. “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre?” he wrote in the now-deleted tweet.

By Friday morning, Giuliani had tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern. First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation when she says the President needs an ‘intervention.’ People who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones.” 

Trump on Thursday evening tweeted a different video of Pelosi that had been edited to make it appear as though she was stuttering and stammering through a speech.”PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” the caption on the tweet read.

Pelosi has so far not commented publicly about the manipulated videos.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a vocal tech critic, tweeted throughout Friday calling on Facebook to take down the video.

@facebook, why is that fake @SpeakerPelosi video still up?” he wrote.  

CREDO, a progressive organization, in a statement, said Facebook’s decision to keep the video up amounts to a “stunning abdication of responsibility from a company with a well-earned reputation for facilitating the spread of malicious right-wing conspiracy theories.” 

“This week, conservatives released altered videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a trial run to see what they’ll be able to get away with in 2020,” CREDO Action Co-Director Josh Nelson said. “Facebook’s decision not to remove this video is a wink and nod to foreign actors and conspiracy theorists around the globe.”

Tags David Cicilline doctored video Donald Trump Facebook Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi drunk video Rudy Giuliani Twitter

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