The Facebook video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is fake. It’s obvious. It was deliberately made to make Pelosi look drunk. It has been viewed about 2.6 million times.
It has been viewed millions of times by now and YouTube acted fast and removed duplicates to stop the spread of fake news.
Facebook also came out and said that the video is, of course, “false” – but they are refusing to remove the video from the site, despite fierce backlash from both the public and the government.
A Facebook official went on CNN to defend the decision and made several confusing and ironic statements.
Monika Bickert, a company vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said the video was reviewed by fact-checking organizations and it was deemed fake. Duh.
But they wouldn’t remove the video because:
“We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice for what to believe. Our job is to make sure we are getting them accurate information,” Bickert said.
It’s unclear what so-called “accurate information” Bickert is talking about and what “informed” choices can be made from a video that is clearly fake.
CNN host Anderson Cooper took Bickert to task.
In a CNN Exclusive, Monika Bickert, Facebook VP for Product Policy and Counterterrorism, explains why the social media site hasn’t removed a manipulated video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. https://t.co/tr9QRDcAZE pic.twitter.com/fOeMQaepSu
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) May 25, 2019
“The reason you’re sharing news is because you make money from it. . . . But if you’re in the news business, which you are, then you have to do it right. And this is false information you are spreading,” Cooper said.
Bickert attempted to defend herself by saying that small fact checker icons have been placed below the original video for “anybody” who views it. However, an expanded link for the video shows no fact-checker warnings.
Democratic politicians have jumped to Pelosi’s defense and attacked Facebook.
Facebook is very responsive to my office when I want to talk about federal legislation and suddenly get marbles in their mouths when we ask them about dealing with a fake video. It’s not that they cannot solve this; it’s that they refuse to do what is necessary.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 24, 2019
Analysts have already been warning the public and government about “deep fake” videos that use sophisticated editing and artificial intelligence software to create realistic videos. They have been used to embarrass and harass targeted women.
President Donald Trump and Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani both shared the video, contributing to the spread of misinformation.