Facebook Labels Manipulated Pelosi Video as ‘Partly False’

August 3, 2020 Updated: August 3, 2020

Facebook on Sunday labeled an apparently manipulated video of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as “partly false information.”

“The information in this post is a mix of true and false statements or it could simply be incomplete. In some cases, the information is misleading,” the social media company said, citing fact-checks from Reuters Fact Check and Lead Stories.

The video clip contains Pelosi’s response to a question about President Donald Trump’s remarks about Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, during a press conference on May 20, 2020.

It was posted on Facebook by a user named “Will Allen.”

The user suggests that the video shows Pelosi “is blowed out of her mind.” However, Lead Stories said the video was slowed down.

“The short video clip … was digitally slowed down to make it appear as if Pelosi was intoxicated,” the fact-checker said. “The original video revealed she was speaking and acting normally.”

The video can still be viewed on Facebook, but the “See Video” button was put at the bottom while the “partly False Information” label was placed at the center of the screen.

More than 10,000 Facebook users reacted to and 138 comments were made on the post as of the noontime of Monday.

The flagged post will also appear lower in news feeds, according to Facebook policies.

The act of placing labels on posts by social media platforms became the center of debate in a national discussion on Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act after Twitter hid one of Trump’s posts in May.

Section 230 largely provides online platforms a shield from liability for content posted by their users. The immunity, however, does not apply for content that violates anti-sex trafficking or intellectual property laws.

The law allows companies to block or screen content “in good faith” if they consider it “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.” The protections, however, weren’t intended to apply to services that act more like publishers than online platforms, Attorney General William Barr said in a speech in May.

A core question in this debate is: should the social media platforms be treated as publishers when they put a label on a post about its accuracy and suitability?

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump signed an executive order on May 28 directing federal agencies to develop regulations that would encourage internet companies to police content in a fairer manner lest they lose their limited liability protections under Section 230.

The Justice Department (DOJ) also proposed a series of legislative changes in June to the law that would curtail broad legal protections for online platforms in an effort to push tech companies to address illicit material while moderating content responsibly, The Epoch Times reported.

The DOJ’s proposals, which need to be considered by Congress, would “update the outdated immunity for online platforms” under Section 230, the department said.

Janita Kan contributed to the report.

Follow Allen on Twitter: @AllenZM