Pelosi Clashes With Facebook and Twitter Over Video Posted by Trump

  • In Politics
  • 2020-02-09 16:35:36Z
  • By The New York Times
Trump Impeachment
Trump Impeachment  

Facebook and Twitter have rejected a request by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove a video posted by President Donald Trump that was edited to make it appear as though she were ripping a copy of his State of the Union address as he honored a Tuskegee Airman and other guests.

The decision highlighted the tension between critics who want social media platforms to crack down on the spread of misinformation and others who argue that political speech should be given wide latitude, even if it's deceptive or false.

The debate has accelerated during the 2020 presidential campaign, as Democrats in Congress have demanded that Facebook and other tech companies take tougher action while figures on the right have argued that such policing could muzzle conservative viewpoints.

Into that highly politicized environment came the video posted by Trump to his Twitter account Thursday.

The roughly 5-minute clip shows Pelosi repeatedly ripping his speech in between snippets of him paying tribute to the airman, Charles McGee, as well as other guests he had invited to the State of the Union, including military families. In fact, Pelosi ripped a copy of Trump's speech immediately after his address to Congress on Tuesday.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, on Friday demanded that the video be removed.

"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 wrote 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," he wrote.

But both companies rejected the request.

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, responded to Hammill on Twitter, writing, "Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn't make those remarks and the Speaker didn't rip the speech?"

Hammill shot back at Stone, writing: "What planet are you living on? this is deceptively altered. take it down."

On Saturday, Stone said that the video did not violate Facebook's policy on manipulated media.

The policy states, in part, that Facebook will remove videos that have been edited or synthesized "in ways that aren't apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say."

In the case of the video posted by Trump, "the reason I was making the point about the fact that the things featured in this video actually happened is because that's a key element of our policy on content like this," Stone wrote on Twitter.

A Twitter spokeswoman, Lindsay McCallum, wrote on Saturday that, beginning March 5, the company would start applying labels that read "manipulated media" on heavily edited videos like Trump's.

Twitter said it may also show a warning to users before they retweet or like a tweet with a manipulated video and may reduce the visibility of such tweets.

Trump's campaign said that the video, titled "Powerful American Stories Ripped to Shreds by Nancy Pelosi," was clearly a parody.

"If Nancy Pelosi fears images of her ripping up the speech, perhaps she shouldn't have ripped up the speech," Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said Saturday.

The campaign referred questions about the origin of the video to the White House, which did not respond to a request for comment.

The video isn't legally actionable and shouldn't be taken down, said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard Law School professor and a founder of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. But, he said, Facebook and Twitter should probably label the video.

"It's important for social media sites that have massive reach to make and enforce policies concerning manipulated content, rather than abdicating all responsibility," Zittrain said.

Labeling is helpful, he added, because "even something that to most people clearly appears to be satire can be taken seriously by others."

Of course, deceptive political ads aren't a tool exclusive to the internet age, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said.

In 1968, Richard Nixon's presidential campaign created an ad showing his opponent, Hubert Humphrey, addressing the Democratic National Convention interspersed with scenes of fighting in Vietnam, demonstrators being beaten in the streets of Chicago and poverty in Appalachia, she said.

In another ad, from 1960, John Kennedy's presidential campaign edited clips of Nixon to show him sweating, appearing distracted and nodding and seeming to agree with Kennedy while Kennedy was speaking, Jamieson said.

She warned against tech companies policing such content.

"Historically, we don't want anybody getting in the way of candidates speaking to the electorate," she said. "We want the press and the opposing candidates to hold them accountable for deception."

Facebook's decision not to remove the video came after it honored a request by Pelosi's office and took down a video on Thursday that was doctored to make it appear as though she were swallowing Tide Pods.

The video, which was still posted on Twitter on Saturday, was apparently made by manipulating a 2018 video of Pelosi sampling chocolates on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert."

Facebook said that video violated a policy against showing people eating Tide Pods, which it created in 2018, after videos spread on social media encouraging people to bite down on the brightly colored laundry detergent packets.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2020 The New York Times Company


More Related News

Trump Confronts a New Reality Before an Expected Wave of Disease and Death
Trump Confronts a New Reality Before an Expected Wave of Disease and Death

WASHINGTON -- Five weeks ago, when there were 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, President Donald Trump expressed little alarm. "This is a flu," he said. "This is like a flu." He was still likening it to an ordinary flu as late as Friday.By Tuesday, however

Barack Obama Takes Rare Public Swipe At Donald Trump Over Coronavirus Response
Barack Obama Takes Rare Public Swipe At Donald Trump Over Coronavirus Response

Obama also urged voters to "demand better of our government."

White House projects 100K to 240K US deaths from virus
White House projects 100K to 240K US deaths from virus
  • World
  • 2020-03-31 22:12:28Z

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Americans to brace for a "rough two-week period" ahead as the White House released new projections that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. "We really believe we can do a lot better than that," said Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. Trump called American efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus "a matter of life and death" and urged the public to heed his administration's guidelines.

'I Don't Think You Should Really Listen to What He Says': Don Lemon Says CNN Should Not Carry Trump's Coronavirus Pressers Live

CNN anchor Don Lemon on Monday night broke with the network's head over the live broadcasting of President Trump's coronavirus press briefings, calling it "a plot" and warning that Trump is "never, ever going to tell you the truth.""I'm not actually sure, if you want to be honest, that we should carry that live. I think we should run snippets. I think we should do it afterwards and get the pertinent points to the American people because he's never, ever going to tell you the truth," Lemon told fellow host Chris Cuomo during their nightly handoff.He pointed to Trump's sparring with media during the question-and-answer periods of the briefings, saying the president reacts to questions...

Trump berated a black journalist, telling her to
Trump berated a black journalist, telling her to 'be nice' and not 'threatening' at a coronavirus briefing, but she refused to take the bait

"I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity," PBS' Yamiche Alcindor told Trump when he accused her of being "threatening."

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Politics