Facebook, Twitter Refuse To Ban Trump's Doctored Video Of Pelosi's Speech-Rip Moment

In their latest refusal to stop videos edited to perpetrate lies and propaganda, both Facebook and Twitter have refused to take down a deepfake tweeted by Trump.

After his State of the Union speech last week, he tweeted out a deepfake video, labelled “Powerful American stories ripped to shreds by Nancy Pelosi,” that had been altered to make it appear that Speaker of the House Pelosi ripped up her copy of his speech during a salute to a Tuskegee airman.

In fact, of course, Pelosi ripped up the copy of the speech at the end of the event, in protest of the numerous lies and distortions in Trump’s remarks. In reality, she stood and applauded the airman when he was honored during the event.

The Speaker’s office demanded that Facebook and Twitter remove the video.

But Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said the fake doesn’t violate its policies. While it distorted reality by completely changing the context of Pelosi’s actions, the spokesperson claimed to CNBC that it does not "make it appear that a person said something they didn’t say or did something they didn’t do,” in CNBC's words.

On Friday, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, posted a link to a criticism of the video, adding: “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.”

“I think they have a history here of promoting and making money off of content that is intentionally false,” Hammill posted after a Twitter skirmish with Stone.

Twitter, meanwhile, sidestepped the issue by saying that its newly announced policy regarding deceptive video doesn’t go into effect until March 5.

The new policy states that users may not “deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm.” In addition, Twitter “may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media’s authenticity and to provide additional context.”

Twitter says it will review videos to judge whether “the content has been substantially edited in a manner that fundamentally alters its composition, sequence, timing or framing” as well as looking at “any visual or auditory information (such as new video frames, overdubbed audio or modified subtitles) that has been added or removed.”

Twitter refused to remove the faked Pelosi video under its current policies. And, asked by CNBC whether the video would violate its new policies, a Twitter spokesperson emailed that she “can’t get into hypotheticals.”

In addition to scrutiny of their business practices by Congress and other bodies, both Facebook and Twitter have been under intense pressure from the Trump administration to allow free reign of fake and deceptive content, as well as practices including micro-targeting of users for political purposes.

5 comments about "Facebook, Twitter Refuse To Ban Trump's Doctored Video Of Pelosi's Speech-Rip Moment".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 10, 2020 at 9:20 a.m.

    It's a real mistake for the social media folks to anger the politicians---as they will ultimately get their revenge by trying to break up "internet monopolies" and regulate them to death.

  2. Karlene Lukovitz from MediaPost replied, February 10, 2020 at 9:31 a.m.

    The social networks are going to tick off one side or the other, politically, no matter what they do. Given the zillions of dollars they're making off shamelessly allowing basically anyone to have access to their users' most personal data, their influence for good or evil around the globe, and how they already allowed hostile foreign governments to influence the 2016 U.S. election, they absolutely owe the U.S. public the simple ethical practice of not allowing their platforms to continue to be used to lie and deceive us--particularly with 'deepfakes' very likely to be swallowed by the uniformed. 

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 10, 2020 at 10:31 a.m.

    So her tantrum was real but the timing was fake.

  4. Charles Pierce from Private, February 10, 2020 at 10:51 a.m.

    Facebook/Twitter don't create the content.

    The users should be responsible for their user-created content. We have defamation and anti-libel laws in the US which can be leveraged with purposeful distribution of malicious material that violates current laws.

    Users can certainly make choices about using or not using platforms, which have a perfect right to censor anything they want by the way (they are not subject to the constitution the way government is).

    Should the government try to regulate the platforms, then the regulations created by the government will be subject to constitutional challenges.

    It will be interesting to see how this develops over time.

  5. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, February 10, 2020 at 9:11 p.m.

    What if Nancy didn't like the fact that San Fransico lost in the Super Bowl and she would what to ban all Kansas City Chief's celabrations.  Would that be fair to give a politican that much power as Speaker of the House? I don't think so.  She can throw a hissy fit about what she did that showed up on video, but her only option would be to file a personal law suit. Of which, she would surely lose.

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