Nancy Pelosi Says Facebook ‘Willing Enablers’ of Russian Interference
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted Facebook on Wednesday for refusing to remove a doctored video of her from its platform.
“I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election,” Pelosi told California’s KQED.
“We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians. I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it’s wrong,” she said, according to KQED. “I can take it. … But [Facebook is] lying to the public.”
A doctored video that was slowed down in a way that made it appear as if Pelosi was slurring her words went viral on Facebook last week. The company did not remove the video, but instead down ranked it, meaning, according to Facebook, that it appeared in fewer users’ News Feeds.
It took Facebook 32 hours to down rank the video, CNN learned.
One version of the video still live on Facebook on Wednesday had nearly 3 million views.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also weighed into the debate on Wednesday.
“Facebook refused to take down a fake video of Nancy Pelosi. It wasn’t even a close call, the video is sexist trash,” Clinton said in her commencement speech at Hunter College.
Adding, “the big social media platforms know their systems are being manipulated by foreign and domestic actors, to sow division, promote extremism and spread misinformation, but they won’t get serious about cleaning up their platforms unless consumers demand it.”
“So let’s send a message to Facebook that those who are in Facebook’s communities would really like Facebook to pay attention to false and doctored videos before we are flooded with them over the next months,” she said.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Friday, Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said that Facebook was alerting users that the video was false.
However, users who shared the video on Facebook on mobile over the weekend received a Facebook notification that there was “additional reporting” about the video, but the notification did not explicitly say the video was false.
Facebook has not responded to CNN’s repeated requests for information about how much the down ranking had slowed the spread of the video, and if users who attempted to share the video had clicked through to see the “additional reporting” Facebook offered them about it.
YouTube removed the video soon after it became aware of the doctored clip. Twitter did not remove the video and had no comment.
Facebook declined to comment on Pelosi’s remarks.