January 7, 2020 / 4:58 PM / 3 months ago

Pelosi spokesman dismisses Facebook decision to remove some manipulated videos

FILE PHOTO: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, joined by fellow Democrats, speaks during a news conference about legislation the House has passed at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A spokesman for the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed Facebook’s announcement that it would remove deepfakes and some other manipulated videos from its platform as inadequate on Tuesday.

“Facebook wants you to think the problem is video-editing technology, but the real problem is Facebook’s refusal to stop the spread of disinformation,” tweeted Drew Hammill, a spokesman for the speaker.

Facebook had told Reuters that as part of its new policy it will not remove a heavily edited video that attempted to make Pelosi seem incoherent by slurring her speech and making it appear like she repeatedly stumbled over her words.

Facebook announced on Monday that it would remove some manipulated videos - known as deepfakes - if the changes were not apparent to the average person and could mislead someone into thinking that a person said something they did not say.

Another Democrat, Senator Mark Warner, also said that the Facebook policy change did not go far enough.

“This still ignores low-tech synthetic media like that slowed down video of Speaker Pelosi, which can just as easily exploit and misinform the public,” he said in a tweet.

The Facebook blog post announcing the policy said videos that were not slated for removal could be looked at by fact-checkers, who might take action to slow a video’s distribution if it is rated false.

Facebook declined to comment on Tuesday.

Reporting by Diane Bartz and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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