Pelosi clashes with Facebook and Twitter over edited Trump video
Social media firms refuse to remove misleading clip posted by US president
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi rips a copy of US President Donald Trump’s speech after he delivered the State of the Union address on February 4th. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty
Facebook and Twitter have refused US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request to remove a video posted by US president Donald Trump that was misleadingly edited to show her repeatedly tearing a paper copy of his state of the union address while he was honouring attendees.
“The American people know that the President has no qualms about lying to them – but it is a shame to see Twitter and Facebook, sources of news for millions, do the same,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s chief of staff, said on Twitter. “The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests.”
The five-minute video in question, which features the words “POWERFUL AMERICAN STORIES RIPPED TO SHREDS BY NANCY PELOSI” at the top, was tweeted by Trump on Thursday. The video shows Pelosi tearing a paper copy of Trump’s controversial address, but the ripping is interspersed with clips of Trump lauding honourees. In reality, Pelosi ripped Trump’s speech after the state of the union address ended.
Their rejection of Pelosi’s request, which has spurred condemnation, comes amid heightened debate over tech titans’ responsibility to thwart the proliferation of misleading – or outright false – information during the 2020 US presidential election.
The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests.— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) February 7, 2020
Congressional Democrats have called on these companies to crack down, but some conservatives contend that such intervention could silence right-leaning perspectives, the New York Times reported.
Twitter recently announced a new rule stating: “You may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media’s authenticity and to provide additional context,” but it does not take effect until March 5th.
Facebook announced in January a new policy barring artificial intelligence-manipulated “deepfake” videos, but the rule only applies to misinformation generated by AI, not “shallow fakes” – misleading videos created through conventional editing techniques.
Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, rebuffed Hammill’s criticism, replying on Twitter: “Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn’t make those remarks and the Speaker didn’t rip the speech?”
Hammill responded: “what planet are you living on? this is deceptively altered. take it down,” while Stone reiterated that the post did not violate Facebook’s policy on manipulated video. Facebook said in an email on Sunday that it didn’t have a comment but maintained it didn’t violate its policies.
Lindsay McCallum, a Twitter spokeswoman, on Saturday pointed to the platform’s soon-to-launch policy on labeling dramatically altered media, according to the New York Times. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the New York Times, Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said: “If Nancy Pelosi fears images of her ripping up the speech, perhaps she shouldn’t have ripped up the speech.” The campaign also said this video was obvious parody. – Guardian