A doctored video went viral on Facebook in the past few days that appeared to show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drunk or drugged. The video is available later in this article. Because fact-checkers proved that the video was manipulated, Facebook applied a fact-check label to it, but the platform did not remove it. The clip was first posted on Thursday by user Will Allen and by Monday morning had received over 2.4 million views. The caption reads, “This is unbelievable, she is blowed out of her mind, I bet this gets taken down!”
The fact-check label put on the video by Facebook states that it is “partly false,” meaning it’s a mix of true and false statements or a misleading video. In this case, Facebook’s Lead Stories fact-checkers wrote that the tempo of the video was slowed down and sections were removed to make Pelosi appear drunk.
The Viral Video Clip Can Be Compared to the Original Video, Which Shows That the Clip Was Manipulated
The original video clip is from a May 20, 2020 news conference by Pelosi during which a reporter asks her to comment on President Donald Trump’s false allegations about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. The full video is 35 minutes long but the portion used for the manipulated clip begins at 19:47.
The doctored video clip, which has remained on Facebook with the fact check label, is below:
The social media platform has kept the video up, but told CNN that videos marked false don’t get promoted as much by the algorithm. Anyone who shares the video will also get a notification that includes the fact check. Hany Farid, a visual forensic expert and professor at the University of California Berkeley, said he believes the video should simply be removed from the platform in line with Facebook’s manipulated media policy.
However, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said it didn’t contravene the policy to an extent that would warrant its removal. “Following an incident over a year ago with a previous video of Speaker Pelosi, we took a number of key steps, making it very clear to people on Facebook when a third-party fact-checker determines content to be false and updating our policy to make explicit the kind of manipulated media we will remove,” Stone said. “And, as always, when a video is determined false, its distribution is dramatically reduced and people who see it, try to share it, or have already shared it, see warnings alerting them that it’s false.”
In a Similar Incident, Another Pelosi Video Was Doctored & Went Viral in May 2019
This isn’t the first time that Pelosi has been inaccurately portrayed in a video that went viral. Another manipulated video from May 2019 went viral, claiming to show Pelosi “drunk as a skunk.” That video also slowed down the tempo of her speech and was posted on May 22, 2019. In a similar situation to this year, Facebook kept the video up with a fact-check label applied to it. At the time, Pelosi’s team told a fact-checking website that the House speaker does not drink.
That video was debunked by the Washington Post, who said the video was slowed down about 25%. The original video was taken while Pelosi was speaking at a Center for American Progress event.