Facebook Enables Russian Meddling, Claims US House Speaker

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slams Facebook for failing to take down heavily edited video

Facebook is once again in the crosshairs of American politicians after it refused to take down a heavily edited video of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The video attempts to make her look incoherent, but Facebook’s refusal to remove the video has convinced the speaker that social networking giant knowingly enables Russian election interference.

Facebook for its part says it has worked hard to prove it is capable of tackling disinformation campaigns from Russia and other countries. Earlier this month it that it had deleted a further 97 pages, groups and accounts from Russia that were guilty of peddling fake news.

Google fake news

Enabling meddling

But that cut little ice with Nancy Pelosi after the President Donald Trump retweeted the video at the weekend and said that she had stammered her way from a news conference.

He later told a reporter that the House speaker had “lost it,” Reuters reported.

The video of Pelosi was reportedly slowed to make her speech slurred. It was also edited to make it appear she repeatedly stumbled over her words.

Frustrated at Facebook’s refusal to remove the heavily edited video, Pelosi went public and slammed the social networking firm.

“When something like Facebook says, ‘I know this is false … – it’s a lie – but we’re showing it anyway,’ well to me it says two things,” Pelosi reportedly said to applause at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

“I was giving them the benefit of the doubt on Russia … I thought it was unwittingly, but clearly they wittingly were accomplices and enablers of false information to go across Facebook,” she reportedly added.

“There is a false video that the Republicans are putting out on Facebook,” the speaker added.

Pelosi also took the opportunity to lament the hostile online world at the moment, and said that attacks like those on Facebook made it more difficult to recruit candidates for public office because “why would you subject yourself to that.”

Meanwhile the Washington Post reported that Youtube had already removed that same video as it had violated company policies on acceptable content.

Fake news

Big tech companies are coming under a lot of political pressure to remove fake news and prevent outside interference in elections.

Earlier this year, the European Commission rebuked Facebook, Google and Twitter over their efforts to crack down on fake news.

All three firms had signed the EU Code of Practice against disinformation, and were asked to report monthly on their actions.

Last August Facebook revealed it had taken down over 650 Facebook pages and groups that it said were linked to Russia.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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