×

Facebook on Defensive Over Fake Pelosi Video

Facebook faced growing criticism this week over its decision not to remove a video that was doctored to suggest that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was intoxicated during a recent public event. The video, which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times, had been slowed down notably, giving the impression that Pelosi was slurring her words.

The Washington Post was first to report on the video Thursday, resulting in YouTube taking down a copy hosted on its service. However, Facebook decided not to follow suit, with a spokesperson telling Variety that the video didn’t violate its community standards. The company didn’t have a policy that content posted on its service had to be true, the spokesperson added.

Facebook had the video evaluated by one of its third-party fact-checkers, who deemed it false. As a result, the company began to limit its distribution, demoting it in people’s news feeds. It also added links to fact checking articles to the video itself.

However, the effectiveness of those contextual links is debatable. Users who find the video on the Politics Watchdog Facebook page only get to see those links after 2 additional clicks, and many users may never see them at all.

Apparently, the producers of the video also managed to dupe some within President Trump’s inner circle. The President’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani tweeted a link to the video on Thursday, asking: “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

Giuliani later deleted that tweet, but defended the video itself on Friday, calling it “a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Alex Jones

    Google Removes Infowars Android App From Online Store Over Coronavirus Misinformation

    Google on Friday removed the Android version of the Infowars app from the Google Play online store, after comments made by Infowars founder Alex Jones about the COVID-19 pandemic were deemed false and harmful. Google Play was that last major internet platform that provided an outlet for Infowars, which trades in right-wing conspiracy theories and [...]

  • Van Weezer

    Weezer Debuts Online Video Game as Throwback to Simpler Times -- And Album Promo

    Eight-bit diehards, get your thumbs ready: pop rock darlings Weezer have launched a nostalgia-heavy online side-scrolling action game, playable via web browsers.  The “The End of the Game” game has users playing as one of the band’s four members and jumping and shooting their way in a (surprisingly difficult) boss fight against an oversized, beanie-clad [...]

  • Google-Mountain-View-Calif

    Google Commits $800 Million, Mostly in Ad Credits, to Coronavirus Relief Efforts

    Google and parent Alphabet are pitching in to help small businesses, health organizations and governments dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The internet company has earmarked more than $800 million for coronavirus relief, about three-fourths of which ($610 million) is in the form of Google Ad credits to small and midsize businesses and governmental orgs, Alphabet [...]

  • Why Are Music Streams Down If

    Why Are Music Streams Down If Everyone's Stuck at Home? Experts Weigh in

    While it might seem counterintuitive that music streams would decline at a time when so many Americans were ordered to stay home, data-savvy label executives were neither startled nor concerned by the 7.6% drop in plays that happened in the March 13-19 tracking week. Simply put, they say it’s down to focus on news and [...]

  • MipTV Online Plus Initiative Launches

    MipTV Online Plus Features Showcases, Pitches, Presentations

    Reed Midem launches its MipTV Online Plus initiative Monday as a digital alternative to the conference that was scheduled to open on the same day in Cannes, but it includes many of the elements that were planned for the physical event. Among the streamed sessions on Monday morning (Paris time) will be the invitation-only Drama [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content