CNBC’s Eamon Javers reports on Nancy Pelosi’s dispute with Facebook and Twitter.
A fierce behind-the-scenes dispute between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and Facebook erupted into public view Friday, as the speaker’s office demanded that Facebook remove a video posted online by President Donald Trump.
The video in question showed Pelosi’s viral State of the Union moment ripping up the text of Trump’s speech Tuesday night, but was edited to make it appear that she ripped the speech even as Trump saluted a Tuskegee airman in the audience. In fact, Pelosi’s speech-ripping gesture came at the end of the president’s speech, and her office said it was in response to the totality of the speech and what Pelosi saw as misinformation in it.
The video, labeled “Powerful American stories ripped to shreds by Nancy Pelosi,” was posted on both Facebook and Twitter. Trump tweeted the video from his Twitter account just before 6 p.m. Thursday to his more than 72 million followers.
Within hours, the speaker’s office was demanding both social media companies remove the video, arguing it was unfair to Pelosi, who actually stood and applauded the airman during the speech.
Both Facebook and Twitter decided against removing the Trump video, although the companies cited different reasons for their decisions.
The dispute became public Friday when Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, posted a link to a criticism of the video Friday afternoon, writing “The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests.”
Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, replied to Hammill on Twitter: “Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn’t make those remarks and the Speaker didn’t rip the speech?”
Hammill fired back: “What planet are you living on? This is deceptively altered. Take it down.”
In the end, both Facebook and Twitter declined to remove the Trump campaign post, citing corporate policies.
Facebook’s Stone told CNBC, “I can confirm for you that the video doesn’t violate our policies.”
Stone said the company’s policies against altered video specifically refer to video that has been edited to make it appear a person said something they didn’t say or did something they didn’t do.
Facebook’s response left Pelosi’s Hammill frustrated.
“I think they have a history here of promoting and making money off of content that is intentionally false,” Hammill said.
Twitter, for its part, has a new set of policies around manipulated media that the company announced Tuesday. The company imposed a new rule on its users: “You may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media’s authenticity and to provide additional context.”
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