News World Nancy Pelosi battles Facebook and Twitter over Donald Trump’s ripped-speech video
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Nancy Pelosi battles Facebook and Twitter over Donald Trump’s ripped-speech video

Nancy Pelosi watches on with Vice President Mike Pence, as Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address. Photo: Getty
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Nancy Pelosi has failed to persuade Facebook and Twitter to take down a “misleading” video posted by US President Donald Trump.

The Democratic Speaker of the House made the request following the posting of a heavily edited five-minute video by Mr Trump entitled “Powerful American stories ripped to shreds by Nancy Pelosi”.

The video shows Ms Pelosi repeatedly ripping Mr Trump’s State of the Union address while the President honours an airman and young African-American women receiving scholarships, among others.

Ms Pelosi famously ripped up a copy of the President’s State of the Union address at the conclusion of his speech, but Mr Trump has weaponised that moment against her, as tension between the two continues to rise.

The recent battles started with Mr Trump refusing Ms Pelosi’s offer of a handshake, the ripping of the speech and then thinly veiled accusations at a religious breakfast.

The video earned the ire of Ms Pelosi and her team, who called on Facebook and Twitter to remove it due to claims that it is designed to “mislead the American people”.

“The American people know that the President has no qualms about lying to them — but it is a shame to see Twitter and Facebook, sources of news for millions, do the same,” Ms Pelosi’s chief of staff Drew Hammill said on Twitter.

“The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests.”

Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, told The New York Times “if Nancy Pelosi fears images of her ripping up the speech, perhaps she shouldn’t have ripped up the speech.”

A campaign spokesperson for Mr Trump also said it was clear the video was a “parody”.

The rejection of Ms Pelosi’s request has prompted condemnation, coming amid growing discussion over tech titans’ responsibility to thwart the proliferation of misleading information during the 2020 presidential election campaign.

Twitter recently announced a new rule stating that “you may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm” but the rule does not come into effect until March 5.

Facebook also announced a new policy in January which would bar AI-generated fake videos but not videos that are misleading or heavily edited by humans.

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone denied Mr Hammill’s claims on Twitter.

“Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn’t make those remarks and the Speaker didn’t rip the speech?” Mr Stone tweeted.

Mr Hammill reiterated that the video was deceptive and again called for it to be taken down.

Facebook said in a statement that the video did not violate its policies and Twitter had not officially commented.

In late 2019 Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was forced to fend off questions in a congressional hearing over election interference and fact-checking.

Mr Zuckerberg did not declare in that hearing whether political messaging with “outright lies” would be taken down from Facebook.

-with agencies