When an edited video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., began spreading across the Web this week, researchers quickly identified it as a distortion, with sound and playback speed that had been manipulated to make her speech appear stilted and slurred.
But in the hours after the social-media giants were alerted, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube offered widely conflicting responses that potentially allowed the viral misinformation to continue its spread.
YouTube offered a definitive response Thursday afternoon, saying the company had removed the videos because they violated “clear policies that outline what content is not acceptable to post.”
Twitter declined to comment. But sharing the video would likely not conflict with the company’s policies, which permit “inaccurate statements about an elected official” as long as they don’t include efforts of election manipulation or voter suppression. Several tweets sharing the video, often alongside insults that Pelosi was “drunk as (a) skunk,” remained online Friday.
But Facebook, where the video appeared to gain much of its audience, declined Friday to remove the video, even after Facebook’s independent fact-checking groups, Lead Stories and PolitiFact, deemed the video “false.”
“We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,” Facebook said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The company said it instead would “heavily reduce” the video’s appearances in people’s News Feeds, append a small informational box alongside the video linking to the two fact-check sites, and open a pop-up box linking to “additional reporting” whenever someone clicks to share the video.
That didn’t satisfy lawmakers such as Rep. David N. Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, who took to Twitter to…