Facebook has rules in place of what they will and will not allow in terms of content. If it’s false information, it doesn’t go against their terms of service.
This means that people can spread lies without the social media platform taking it down. It’s an argument that tons of people have had with Facebook – and rarely have people walked away happy with the decisions.
Now, Nancy Pelosi is fighting with Facebook and Zuckerberg about disinformation. She’s taken a personal interest on it, particularly about the video that she is portrayed in.
What’s the problem?
There’s a video of Nancy Pelosi that has been slowed down to make her sound drunk. It was tweeted by Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. It was also shared widely across Fox News and social media.
Expert consensus identified that the video has been manipulated. YouTube took it down. Twitter has not. Neither has Facebook.
Pelosi is fighting Facebook on disinformation.
She doesn’t believe that social media platforms should allow people to embrace falsehoods over fact. However, she hasn’t been quite as vocal about it in the past. Now that there’s a video focused on her, she’s furious – and wants action taken immediately.
Anyone who has been on social media long enough knows that there have been plenty of videos about politicians that have been manipulated in order to enjoy some lighthearted humor. Trump has certainly been a victim to his fair share of manipulated videos.
Pelosi, however, doesn’t see the humor.
Why isn’t it coming down?
There are policies that Facebook has in place. When Monika Bickert, the VP for Product Policy and Counter-terrorism for Facebook, was interviewed by Anderson Cooper, she explained why the video hasn’t been taken down.
Over 50 fact-checking organizations are used around the globe to help with finding issues. If there’s someone advocating violence or making direct threats to the safety of others, the posts are removed.
Since January 2019, over 3 billion fake accounts were removed. If the manipulated video had been posted by a fake account, it would have been removed. However, it was a real person. Real people are allowed to post fake content.
It’s part of the freedom of speech. As Bickert explains, the visibility of the content is drastically reduced. People can be told it’s false. Then, Facebook allows people to make a choice on their own to believe it.
What’s wrong with false content?
People are allowed to see manipulated content. It’s not hurting anyone (except for maybe some pride). The likelihood of anyone believing that Pelosi conducted a speech inebriated is low. Most people took it for what it was – a joke.
However, Yuval Noah Harari, the author of “Sapiens” argues, human beings are predisposed to believe and create lies. When this happens, people can find lying to be socially useful.
When more people believe in the myth, it can operate to one’s agenda on a larger scale.
There is the worry that social media perpetuates the idea that truth is what we choose to believe.
Twitter and Facebook, are, arguably, massive news distribution systems. However, they may be distributing news but they’re a social media platform first and foremost.
They’re not generating any of their own news. They share what other people have posted, which is a first amendment right.
There’s also something to be said about assuming that people are gullible. There have been outrageous lies created on social media about politicians in the past, including Hilary Clinton running a sex trafficking ring in a pizza parlor’s basement.
There have also been videos manipulated to make it look like someone is drunk (Pelosi isn’t the first one, Trump had many circulating for a while, too).
The policies of Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media platforms are unlikely to change. YouTube may have taken the video down, but they’re owned by the same parent company as Google, so they’re not social media.
At some point, individuals need to be able to use logic in order to determine what is real and what isn’t.
Pelosi, essentially, is getting mad about fake news. That sounds familiar. It seems Pelosi has more in common with Trump than she’d like to admit.
Ultimately, it comes down to Pelosi being in a losing battle because she’s upset that someone made fun of her. As soon as she took to the public eye in politics, she needed to be prepared for that.
Now, she needs to have faith in mankind that they understand how to use logic.