May 29, 2019 - World

Pelosi: Facebook enabled Russian interference

Nancy Pelosi.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told KQED News on Wednesday that Facebook's resistance to remove a doctored video of her serves as evidence that the company's leaders were "willing enablers" of Russian interference.

"I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election."
— Nancy Pelosi

Context: The video in question slowed Pelosi's speech to the point of sounding questionably slurred. Although the footage has since been deemed false, Facebook declined to remove it, instead opting to reduce the video's newsfeed appearances.

  • Facebook also added links to fact-checking sources alongside the video, as well as a prompt linking to "additional reporting" should someone attempt to share the clip.

The big picture: Although Facebook says it doesn't have a policy prohibiting false information from its site, per the Washington Post, the company has claimed that it's actively working toward preventing the spread of misinformation, specifically following the 2016 election.

  • The social media platform was a hotbed for Russian ads used to influence 2016 election outcomes. Earlier this month, Congress released 3,500 ads that had been posted on Facebook and Instagram, demonstrating in broad detail what campaigns looked like and how they targeted unsuspecting Americans.

The bottom line: While the video doesn't break any of the platform's stated rules, the incident illustrates the impact of misinformation in a social media age.

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