CNN's Anderson Cooper Pushes Facebook Exec on Company's Decision to Keep Up Doctored Pelosi Video

CNN's Anderson Cooper repeatedly pressed Facebook's head of global policy management on Friday over the company's decision to not remove a video featuring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that was doctored to make her look and sound intoxicated.

"Facebook has repeatedly told Congress and the American people that you're serious about fighting disinformation and fake news, yet this doctored video, that I think your own fact checkers acknowledge is doctored, of Speaker Pelosi remains on your platform. Why?" Cooper asked Facebook executive Monika Bickert.

The video, which has been seen millions of times in just a few days, shows Pelosi speaking at an event but was altered to slow her speech so that it sounds like she is slurring her words. In addition to its viewership on Facebook, the video has surfaced on Twitter and YouTube, the latter of which removed it from their platform over concerns about misinformation.

Facebook's decision to keep the video up reflects the company's reluctance to weigh in on matters of free speech, even when its platform is being used to amplify factually incorrect information. Bickert indicated that the video has been flagged and de-emphasized by Facebook's algorithm, so that users who still encounter it will be alerted to its falsity.

Cooper questioned Bickert over whether this was an appropriate editorial decision, and even whether Facebook should be in the news business to begin with.

"We aren't in the news business, we're in the social media business," she replied.

"Well, you are in the news business," Cooper contested. "The reason you're sharing news is because you make money from it. It keeps people watching you and more involved in your site, which I get, and that's fair. But if you're in the news business, which you are, you've got to do it right and this is false information you are spreading."

Facebook has come under fire for its unclear application of rules relating to misinformation on the platform. The social media company consults with news organizations to provide fact checking services and has content policies to guard against unwelcome content, but misinformation has long been a gray area for enforcement. Videos may be flagged as containing false or doctored content and the company has attempted to minimize the reach of such videos without removing them altogether. But other content that has been criticized for its accuracy remains on the platform. Often, the hesitancy to weigh into political arenas is cited as a possible reason for Facebook's fluctuating oversight. In recent weeks, far-right provocateurs were banned from the platform in part due to their embrace of hate speech, which frequently circulated false or misleading information.

After the video's success on Facebook and the company's decision not to remove it, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook surged to the top of Twitter's trending list.

CNN's Anderson Cooper Pushes Facebook Exec on Company's Decision to Keep Up Doctored Pelosi Video | U.S.