Facebook and Twitter are being asked to stand up to President Trump and abide by their own rules against deepfakes after the president posted a misleadingly edited video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's ripping up of the State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
Trump spent Wednesday morning retweeting over two dozen tweets that were critical of Pelosi's act of protest, some using the hashtag #PelosiTantrum. And two days later he remains eager to spin her gesture not as something defiant against him, but as her ripping to shreds the "powerful American stories" Trump presented during the speech. The doctored video intercuts images of Pelosi's speech-ripping with earlier parts of Trump's speech, like his introducing a 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman, and his awarding Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom.
Trump posted the video Thursday and pinned the tweet to the top of his Twitter feed. He also posted it on Facebook.
As The Hill reports, a growing number of Democratic lawmakers, as well as Pelosi's own staff, are calling on Twitter and Facebook to take the video down. Both companies have instituted policies against deepfakes that are not satire, and are meant to mislead people — with Facebook recently announcing a new policy prohibiting deepfakes, though some will say this video does not qualify as one. The video is more of a "shallow fake" or "cheapfake," because all that's been done is edit Pelosi's act out of context.
According to Facebook's policy, established just last month, a deepfake video that would qualify for removal has to be manipulated “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say." Facebook has already said that this video does not violate its rules.
"The American people know that the President has no qualms about lying to them — but it is a shame to see Twitter and Facebook, sources of news for millions, do the same," said Pelosi's chief of staff Drew Hammill on Friday. "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.”
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) tweeted at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey saying, "This video is clearly another deceptive effort by @realDonaldTrump to mislead and manipulate the American people. Hey @jack, show your commitment to cut down on the misinformation corroding our nation and take down this fake video."
Congressman David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) similarly tweeted at Twitter to remove the video (see above), and Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna (D-California) tweeted "[email protected] must take this misleading video about @SpeakerPelosi down now. Social media platforms are a place where people come for news & information. They need to have certain standards."
Meanwhile, Republicans on Twitter are promoting stories like this, saying that Pelosi may face "harsh penalties" for violating a U.S. code that prohibits the destruction of official government documents. (Trump himself referred to the act as "illegal," but the Associated Press has debunked that — it wasn't an original document, just a copy.) And Trump's post containing the video has been retweeted 47,000 times.
DeAnna Lorraine, a Republican who is futilely running against Pelosi in San Francisco also paid to have a "Pelosi for Prison" banner flown over SF on Thursday.
I’m flying a #PelosiForPrison banner around @SpeakerPelosi’s district today!— DeAnna for Congress🇺🇸vs Nancy (@DeAnna4Congress) February 6, 2020
Her lawlessness, ignorance and corruption have gone on for too long!
Sign the petition at https://t.co/tpidJDBtgA to support the movement!
Go to https://t.co/n9dL8joJPS to support MY campaign! pic.twitter.com/QT5pggL8E1
Relatedly, other clearly satirical video manipulations have made light of the criticism Pelosi has received for disrespecting the president.
OK upon closer inspection, Nancy Pelosi was maybe just a little disrespectful ;)— Paul Lidicul (@PaulLidicul) February 7, 2020
(waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for it) pic.twitter.com/u7tRIGrhkd