BOSTON (CBS) — Millions of people have seen altered video falsely portraying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as impaired.
It’s a technique that’s already been used in political ads to mislead voters.
And with Facebook now saying it won’t go beyond viewer warnings that videos like this are fake, you’d better brace yourself for a flood of political fakery.
It was a sign of the campaign hellscape to come when President Trump retweeted heavily-edited video to question the speaker’s mental competence after she questioned his. “I have been watching her for a very long time,” said Mr. Trump to drive the point home. “She’s not the same person, she’s lost it.”
But Facebook’s refusal to remove another widely-circulated fake video portraying Pelosi as slurring her words – even though YouTube has banned it – suggests the nation’s number one news source isn’t prepared to seriously edit the content it carries.
“We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice about what to believe,” explained Monika Bickert, a top Facebook executive, in a CNN interview. “Our job is to make sure we are getting them accurate information.”
Even if it’s clearly fake.
We told you last year about the rise of “deep fakes,” where politicians are made to appear to say things they never said. And our government’s own worldwide threat assessment says “adversaries and strategic competitors” are poised to “use deep fakes” as a political weapon.
But Facebook’s policy suggests you’ll be forced to sort out fakes from the truth all campaign long.
Kara Swisher, the influential New York Times tech columnist, wrote this weekend that Facebook has now morphed completely into “Fakebook,” a sorry title for the country’s most far-reaching news source.
She writes: “the toxic stew of propaganda and fake news that is allowed to pour into the public river without filters? A-OK., in the clearly underdeveloped mind of Mark Zuckerberg.”