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Altered videos of Nancy Pelosi allowed on Facebook but not YouTube

Andrew Blake The Washington TimesJuly 2, 2019

Facebook declined Friday to follow YouTube in stopping users from sharing doctored footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

A spokesperson for Facebook indicated that the social network would demote but not outright censor video of Ms. Pelosi slowed down to make her speech seem slurred.

“There’s a tension here: we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance. But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn’t mean it should get distribution,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, several outlets reported.

“In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed,” said the statement.

Uploaded to Facebook on Wednesday by the Politics WatchDog page, the altered video went viral this week amid tensions worsening between Ms. Pelosi and President Trump, who have been more at odds than ever as fellow Democrats push for the congresswoman to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Rudolph Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, shared the video from his personal Twitter account Thursday accompanied by the caption, “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

Mr. Giuliani’s tweet has since been removed, albeit not without the video being viewed more than 2.5 million times on Facebook alone as of Friday afternoon.

Mr. Trump, on his part, tweeted a different altered video Wednesday composed of edited footage of the House speaker. “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” he captioned the clip.

YouTube took action in the interim to prevent altered videos targeting the House speaker from being shared on its platform, meanwhile.

“YouTube has clear policies that outline what content is not acceptable to post and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement, several outlets reported. “These videos violated our policies and have been removed. They also did not surface prominently. In fact, search results and watch next panels about Nancy Pelosi include videos from authoritative sources, usually at the top.”

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