http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/op-ed-facebook-and-disinformation-pelosi-video-to-remain/article/550545

Op-Ed: Facebook and disinformation: Pelosi video to remain

Posted May 25, 2019 by Tim Sandle
Facebook has had a rocky period over data privacy, fake accounts, and accusations of allowing posts that seek to interfere with democratic elections. It seems no lessons have been learned with Facebook's refusal to remove a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi  pictured at a press conference.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, pictured at a press conference.
Jim WATSON, AFP
Facebook has said it will keep hosting a video showing an interview with Nancy Pelosi, a video which has been deliberately edited to give the impression that the Democratic House Speaker is drunk, under the influence of a substance, or unwell (The Guardian reveals how the video was deliberately slowed down in places to create the false impression about Pelosi's physical and mental state). Facebook's willingness to maintain the juvenile video is not simply 'freedom of expression', in offering content that will appeal to people with a narrow sense of humor and who take delight in seeking amusement in the misfortune of others. The dangers are that misinformation propagates so easily because social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
The continued hosting of the video is arguably a reflection of political bias - since the video is inaccurate and designed to denigrate a senior representative of one political party to the gain of another. Such potential to alter the political process has been seen with pro-Trump supporters promoting the video in social media, such as president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who tweeted a link for the Facebook video (this was subsequently deleted). Trump himself has posted a similar 'fake news' video of Perlosi which has been edited, although this video is not hosted by Facebook.
More concerning, in the wider context, by hosting the video and refusing calls to remove it, this represents another stage in Facebook's on-going struggle to deal with disinformation. In response to pressure from The Washington Post (which broke the story), Facebook has said it will only downgrade its visibility in users’ newsfeeds, although this will not stop the hit counts from mounting.
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With the video itself, the origins are unknown. However, the creators of the video will undoubtedly be Trump supporters. In recent days, Pelosi, has succeeded in irritating the President of the U.S. For example, in later May 2019, when questioned at her weekly news conference whether she was concerned about Trump's well-being, she replied: “I am,” and added that she was also concerned about “the wellbeing of the United States of America”. Following this, she stated: “I wish that his family or his administration or staff would have an intervention for the good of the country. Maybe he wants to take a leave of absence.”
While such banter forms part of the political discourse, and is relatively minor compared with some of the statements made by Trump, not least his encouragement of far-right groups, Pelosi's comments are best served by counter comments delivered directly from Trump himself. To create a video designed to lampoon another politicians as though they were unfit for office represents a new low in political campaigning.
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While Trump will, unfortunately, be Trump, the primary issue is with social media companies and the necessity, for the sake of a healthy and vibrant democracy, to ensure that accurate content is displayed and where fake news is posted - as with the pro-Trump video - it is duly considered and where appropriate, as with the case in hand, removed.