Misimpression of House Speaker Pelosi speaks volumes

It took Facebook more than on a daily basis to downgrade a doctored video making House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seem like she was slurring her words — therefore the video itself remains on the webpage, with copycats proliferating.

A group called Politics WatchDog posted the manipulated video of Pelosi — which was slowed up to give the misimpression she was speaking in an impaired fashion at a think-tank event — at 1:29 p.m.

Nonetheless it wasn’t until after 9 p.m. on May 23, some 32 hours later, that Facebook began suppressing the video after a fact-check from 1 Facebook partner, LeadStories, was published. Facebook partner Politifact didn’t post its very own fact-check through to the following morning on May 24.
One basis for the delay: The fact-checkers needed to do their own reporting — finding audio and digital forensics experts who could verify that the video had been manipulated.

The flap on the Pelosi video reveals the limits of Facebook’s third-party fact-checking system into the battle against misinformation heading into the 2020 election cycle — and also as the company faces increasing scrutiny in Washington, including calls for this to be split up from Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others.

The social networking giant has taken a hands-off way of policing the veracity of content on the webpage, instead partnering with independent organizations that have get to be the company’s first and main type of defense against misinformation.

But fact-checking a post or video takes precious time, during which rumors and misinformation can continue to spread at internet speeds.
Facebook works only with fact-checkers which are an element of the International Fact-Checking Network, a global coalition of vetted fact-checkers founded by the Poynter Institute, a number one journalism think tank situated in Florida. Other people in the network through the Washington Post’s fact-checking arm, as well as the Associated Press and Factcheck.org, IFCN director Baybars Orsek said in an interview.


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