Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley: Facebook won't remove doctored Pelosi video | Trump denies knowledge of fake Pelosi videos | Controversy over new Assange charges | House Democrats seek bipartisan group on net neutrality

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Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e).

 

A SIGN OF MORE TO COME? TRUMP SHARES EDITED PELOSI VIDEO: President Trump on Friday said he was unfamiliar with doctored videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) being shared on social media.

"I don't know about the videos. I can tell you that -- what I'm here is to help the country," Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for Japan.

Trump's comments came one day after he retweeted a video from Fox Business Network that, while not doctored, had been selectively edited to combine clips of the California Democrat tripping over her words in a press conference.

Feud gets personal: Trump and Pelosi have been locked in a bitter war of words this week, exchanging insults and barbs in an intensifying feud that included the president walking out of a meeting at the White House. Read more here.

Also going viral across the internet: The Washington Post reported that other videos altered to make Pelosi appear to be drunkenly slurring her words have spread on social media at a rapid rate -- clips that were circulating the same day Trump shared the unfavorably edited clip of Pelosi.

Facebook won't take video down: Facebook on Friday said it is not planning to remove the doctored video Pelosi.

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 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.

Read more on Facebook here.

 

CONTROVERSY OVER LATEST ASSANGE CHARGES: Whistleblower Chelsea Manning condemned the announcement of 17 new charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying they indicated the law would be used as a "sword" against freedom of the press.

"I continue to accept full and sole responsibility for those disclosures in 2010," Manning said in a statement Thursday evening. "It's telling that the government appears to have already obtained this indictment before my contempt hearing last week. This administration describes the press as the opposition party and an enemy of the people."

"Today, they use the law as a sword, and have shown their willingness to bring the full power of the state against the very institution intended to shield us from such excesses."

Read more here.

Why this case is important to reporters: Executive editors from top newspapers including The Washington Post and The New York Times voiced alarm over the Trump administration charging Assange under the Espionage Act, with Post executive editor Marty Baron arguing the decision "undermines the very purpose of the First Amendment."

"Dating as far back as the Pentagon Papers case and beyond, journalists have been receiving and reporting on information that the government deemed classified. Wrongdoing and abuse of power were exposed," Baron told The Daily Beast.

"With the new indictment of Julian Assange, the government is advancing a legal argument that places such important work in jeopardy and undermines the very purpose of the First Amendment."

Read more here.

These top media executives aren't alone: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) expressed concerns Thursday about Espionage Act charges against Assange, warning of a potential chilling effect on the First Amendment.

"This is not about Julian Assange. This is about the use of the Espionage Act to charge a recipient and publisher of classified information," Wyden said in a statement. "I am extremely concerned about the precedent this may set and potential dangers to the work of journalists and the First Amendment."

Read more here.

 

CUT FROM TWITTER: Twitter on Thursday permanently banned anti-Trump brothers Brian and Ed Krassenstein, stating the brothers had violated the site's terms of service by "operating multiple fake accounts" and "purchasing account interactions."

The Trump antagonists had large followings and were considered "resistance" figures to President Trump on the prominent social media platform. Ed Krassenstein had amassed more than 900,000 followers before the ban, while Brian Krassenstein had nearly 700,000 followers.

The ban was first reported in the Daily Beast.

"The Twitter Rules apply to everyone," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Hill. "Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service."

The Krassensteins wrote in a response on their blog that they never engaged in the actions Twitter says they did in violating the site's terms of service.

"This is 100% false, and if Twitter believes they have evidence to prove otherwise, we ask and encourage them to release these details to the media," they add.

The Krassensteins admitted to operating other accounts but claimed they were used to monitor threats against themselves.

Read more on the ban here.

 

WORKING ACROSS THE AISLE: More than 40 House Democrats are seeking to establish a bipartisan working group to address net neutrality, saying the Democratic effort to reinstate the Obama-era rules is dead on arrival in the Senate.

The 47 Democrats backing the effort voted for the Save the Internet Act, which passed the House by a 232-190 vote mostly along party lines last month. But now they're looking to sit down with Republicans in order to work up "bipartisan, bicameral legislation that can be signed into law."

"We recognize that this legislation is unlikely to become law, or pass through the Senate, in its current form," they wrote in a letter to top Democrats. "If that proves true, consumers will be left without enforceable net neutrality protections while partisan conflict continues. We believe this result is unacceptable and unnecessary."

Committee hits back: A spokesperson for the House Energy and Commerce Committee told The Hill in a statement: "There is already a working group established; it's called the Energy and Commerce Committee."

Working group proponents respond: Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), who is leading the working group effort alongside Rep. Josh Gottheimer, said in a statement to The Hill: "Of course I intend to continue to work with my colleagues on the Committee. The bottom line is that this complex problem requires a bipartisan solution."

Net neutrality advocates push back: The effort to create a bipartisan working group has already elicited aggressive pushback from net neutrality advocates, who say it seems like an effort to water down any pro-net neutrality legislation.

"Zero net neutrality advocacy groups support the creation of such a working group -- the only purpose of this letter is to amplify the cable industry's narrative and build support for their end goal, which is to pass weak, loophole-filled legislation that claims to save net neutrality while permanently undermining it," digital rights group Fight for the Future wrote in a Medium post this week.

The group accused many of the Democrats who have signed on to the proposal of having a "track record of siding with big cable interests over their constituents," encouraging critics of the effort to call those lawmakers and press them to reject the group.

The letter from Democrats does not lay out specific issues they would be willing to compromise on.

Read more on the working group here here.

 

CRYPTO-BOOK? Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss recently as his company considers launching its own cryptocurrency.

The Financial Times reported Thursday that Zuckerberg met with the Winklevoss twins and executives with Coinbase, a popular online cryptocurrency exchange, as the company considers partnering with the company and others such as Gemini, the exchange founded by the Winklevoss brothers.

Zuckerberg's past legal conflict with the twins was one of the defining plot points of "The Social Network," the Academy Award-winning movie based on Zuckerberg's rise to power as Facebook's founder. The two brothers claimed in legal proceedings to have come up with the original idea for Facebook while students at Harvard with Zuckerberg.

Spokespeople for both Coinbase and Gemini declined to comment to the Financial Times on discussions with Facebook.

Read more here.

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: The world will be freer, safer by smashing firewalls of closed societies.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Every single email.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

U.S. and China tech have played nice for decades. Now, a fork in the road. (NBC News)

Facebook privacy settlement delayed by FTC split. (The Wall Street Journal)

Equifax just became the first company to have its outlook downgraded for a cyberattack. (CNBC)

First American Financial Corp. leaked hundreds of millions of title insurance records. (Krebs on Security)

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