- Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff got into a heated exchange with a Facebook rep on Twitter over whether a video posted by President Donald Trump violated Facebook’s manipulated content policy.
- On Thursday, Trump posted a video edited to show Pelosi repeatedly ripping up his State of the Union speech.
- Pelosi’s spokesman took to Twitter Friday to criticize social media platforms for refusing to take it down, saying the video was “deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people.”
- An ensuing argument between the spokesman and the Facebook rep highlighted a massive gray area around moderating misleading content.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The contentious debate over moderating misleading content on social media was reignited this week after President Trump posted a video of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that appeared to show her repeatedly ripping up a copy of the president’s State of the Union speech.
That drama took another turn Friday when Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, took to Twitter to criticize social media platforms for not taking down the video, which Hammill told Business Insider it had asked both Facebook and Twitter to remove.
“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,” Hamill wrote on Twitter.
That prompted a Facebook spokesman, Andy Stone, to respond.
“Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn’t make those remarks and the Speaker didn’t rip the speech?” Stone tweeted.
“What planet are you living on? this is deceptively altered. take it down,” Hammill shot back.
what planet are you living on? this is deceptively altered. take it down.
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) February 7, 2020
Pelosi did, in fact, tear up a copy of the president’s speech after he appeared to snub her attempt to shake his hand following a tense State of the Union address. The video Trump posted, however, was edited to make it seem like Pelosi ripped up the speech multiple times during his remarks.
“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,” Hammill told Business Insider in a statement.
The edits raised questions about whether the video violated either Facebook or Twitter’s policies against manipulated content. Facebook’s policy bans most content manipulated using artificial intelligence, but not more typical video editing techniques — though the latter can still be reviewed by third-party fact checkers.
Twitter recently announced that users “may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm,” and that it “may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media’s authenticity and to provide additional context.”
Regarding the president’s video, a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider that, since enforcement of these new policies won’t begin until March 5, the company couldn’t comment on hypotheticals.
As Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others have faced pressure to take more active roles policing misinformation on their platforms, they’ve unveiled a variety of new content policies. Reactions have been mixed, with many still uncertain about how exactly the policies will be enforced and whether or not they’ll be effective.
This isn’t the first time Pelosi has been the subject of deceptive social media content. In 2019, she criticized Facebook for refusing to take down a viral video that had been heavily edited to make it appear as if she was slurring and tripping over her words.
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