by Chris White
Media pundits and Democratic lawmakers are lashing out after Facebook explained that an edited video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union does not violate company policy.
Big tech is duty-bound to nix an edited version of a video showing Pelosi ripping up a copy of the president’s SOTU speech, a slew of Democrats and media pundits believe. The video appears to show Pelosi tearing up the speech while Trump is saluting a Tuskegee airman in the audience.
“Social media platforms are a place where people come for news & information. They need to have certain standards. Falsity has never been part of our 1st Amendment tradition,” Rep. Ro Khanna of California wrote Friday after imploring Twitter to remove the video.
Khanna represents the Silicon Valley district, where Facebook calls home.
Social media platforms are a place where people come for news & information.
They need to have certain standards.
Falsity has never been part of our 1st Amendment tradition. https://t.co/dwiDeKNd3D
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) February 7, 2020
Other Democrats mirrored Khanna’s points. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, for instance, retweeted Trump’s tweet of the video Friday, telling his Twitter followers that “[T]his video is clearly edited in a way that intended to mislead viewers.” He implored Twitter to remove it.
“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,” Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said Friday on Twitter.
Facebook spokesman confirmed to CNBC Friday night that the video “doesn’t violate our policies.” Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler was not swayed by Stone’s argument, telling his Twitter followers that Facebook is letting Trump and his followers off the hook.
“Video shows Pelosi ripping up speech after each touching moment when in fact she applauded. Pretty stunning. Trump people cried foul when Biden ad intercut laughter at his UN speech. Same rule applies here,” Kessler said Friday after saying a Facebook “flack” (Stone) defended the content.
This is not the first time Pelosi and Facebook have wrestled over what the House speaker believes is manipulated video meant to make her look bad. She and liberal pundits pounced on the company in 2019 when the tech giant refused to nix a doctored video clip of the lawmaker.
The video artificially slowed Pelosi’s speech and mannerisms. It was identified as a fake, but not before it had been shared across multiple platforms. Facebook determined at the time that providing customers with accurate information is more important than removing the video entirely.
Facebook has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Chris White is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Nancy Pelosi” by Gage Skidmore CC2.0.