sunny.png
Wednesday April 1st, 2020 7:22PM

Video of Pelosi brings renewed attention to 'cheapfakes'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The issue of misleading political messages on social media arose again last week, when President Trump tweeted out an edited video showing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi repeatedly tearing up his State of the Union speech as he honored audience members and showed a military family reuniting.

Pelosi did tear the pages of her copy of the speech — but only after it was finished, and not throughout the address as the video depicts.

Pelosi's office asked Twitter and Facebook to take down the video, which both sites have declined to do.

Researchers worry the video's “selective editing” could mislead people if social media companies don't step in and properly label or regulate similar videos. And with the proliferation of smartphones equipped with easy editing tools, the altered videos are simple to make and could multiply as the election approaches.

HOW LONG HAS DOCTORED CONTENT BEEN AN ISSUE?

Political campaign ads and candidate messages showing opponents in a negative light have long been a staple of American politics. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams attacked each other in newspaper ads. John F. Kennedy’s campaign debuted an ad showing different videos edited together of Richard Nixon sweating and looking weak.

So, to some extent, the video of Pelosi, which appears to be created by a group affiliated with conservative organization Turning Point USA, is not novel. What's different now, said Clifford Lampe, a professor of information at the University of Michigan, is how widely such content can spread in a matter of minutes.

“The difference now is that the campaigns themselves, the president of U.S. himself, is able to disseminate these pieces of media to the public,” he said. “They no longer have to collaborate with media outlets.”

The Pelosi team has pushed back against doctored online content in the past. A video released last year was slowed down to make it seem the speaker was slurring her words.

WHAT POLICIES FROM SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES GOVERN THESE VIDEOS?

Facebook, Google and Twitter have all been emphasizing their efforts to cut down on disinformation on their sites leading up to the election, hoping to avoid some of the backlash generated by rampant misinformation on social media during the 2016 election.

But the video of Pelosi does not violate existing policies, both Twitter and Facebook said. Facebook has rules that prohibit so-called “deepfake” videos, which the company says are both misleading and use artificial intelligence technology to make it seem like someone authentically “said words that they did not actually say.”

Researchers say the Pelosi video is an example of a “cheapfake” video, one that has been altered but not with sophisticated AI like in a deepfake. Cheapfakes are much easier to create and are more prevalent than deepfakes, which have yet to really take off, said Samuel Woolley, director of propoganda research at the Center for Media Engagement at University of Texas.

That editing is “deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people,” Pelosi deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted on Friday. He condemned Facebook and Twitter for allowing the video to stay up on the social media sites.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone replied to Hammill on Twitter saying, “Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn’t make those remarks and the Speaker didn’t rip the speech?” In an interview Sunday, Stone confirmed that the video didn't violate the company's policy. In order to be taken down, the video would have had to use more advanced technology and possibly try to show Pelosi saying words she didn't say.

Twitter did not remove the video either, and pointed toward a blog post from early February that says the company plans to start labeling tweets that contain “synthetic and manipulated media.” Labeling will begin on March 5.

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

Not much. Social media companies are broadly able to police the content on their own sites as they choose. A law, section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, shields tech platforms from most lawsuits based on the content posted on their sites, leaving responsibility largely in the companies' own hands.

Most platforms now ban overtly violent videos and videos that could cause real-world harm, though of course much of that is up to internal company interpretation. Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube have received a significant amount of criticism in recent years about live-streamed and offensive videos that have appeared on the sites. The companies sometimes bend to public pressure and remove videos, but often point to people’s rights to freedom of expression in leaving videos up.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Misinformation on social media, especially surrounding elections, is a varied and ever-changing conversation. Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor at Syracuse University, called for legislation to better regulate social media in cases of political propaganda. It gets tricky though, she admits, because the “very people who will be regulating them are the same ones using them to get elected.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online President, White House, advisers News, AP Elections, AP Business, AP Elections - Campaigns, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
South Koreans explode with joy over 'Parasite' Oscar wins
South Koreans are reacting with rare collective joy after director Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” won the Oscar for best picture and three other awards
5:17AM ( 22 minutes ago )
2020 Watch: Is Mayor Pete for real?
Chaos in Iowa has sparked a deep sense of anxiety among Democrats who hoped the kickoff contest would provide clarity and evidence of excitement at the official starting line of the 2020 primary season
5:16AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Asia stocks decline amid warnings China virus still a threat
Global stocks have declined after China reported an uptick in new virus cases and analysts warned optimism the disease is under control might be premature
5:11AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Video of Pelosi brings renewed attention to 'cheapfakes'
A video of Nancy Pelosi tearing up the State of the Union speech while President Trump honored special guests spread through social media
3:00AM ( 2 hours ago )
Maryland to unveil statues of Tubman, Douglass in Capitol
At a time when states are debating the removal of Confederate monuments, Maryland is adding bronze statues of two of the state's famous black historical figures to the Maryland State House
1:16AM ( 4 hours ago )
Elizabeth Warren's challenge: Breaking out of murky middle
Elizabeth Warren isn’t struggling like Joe Biden
12:50AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump airs impeachment gripes while pushing economic agenda
President Donald Trump is reprising complaints about his impeachment while he pushes his economic agenda
3:46PM ( 2 days ago )
Trump announces effort to revitalize underserved US cities
President Donald Trump has announced a new nationwide effort to revitalize underserved cities across America
2:37PM ( 2 days ago )
Trump's acquittal confronts Dems with election year choices
Democrats always expected that the Senate would acquit President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial
1:08PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online President, White House, advisers News
The Latest: Warren says she's best positioned to beat Trump
Elizabeth Warren is tweaking her standard campaign speech, saying that she’s in the best position to win what some see as an “unwinnable” election for any Democrat against President Donald Trump
6:48PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Tom Steyer calls for $22 hourly mimimum wage
Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer says he would call for a $22 hourly minimum wage if elected president
6:40PM ( 11 hours ago )
Klobuchar pushes to keep defying expectations in campaign
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she’s plans to keep defying expectations heading into Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary
4:27PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Elections
Making Oscar history, 'Parasite' wins best picture
“Parasite” has won the best picture Oscar, becoming the first foreign-language film to take home the biggest honor in film
3:02AM ( 2 hours ago )
Iraqi officials: US will grant vital Iran sanctions waiver
Three senior Iraqi officials say the U.S. has signaled its willingness to extend sanctions waivers enabling the country to continue importing vital Iranian gas and electricity imports
12:46AM ( 4 hours ago )
In a win for the world, 'Parasite' takes best picture Oscar
“Parasite” has won the best picture Oscar, becoming the first foreign-language film to take home the biggest honor in film
12:13AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
Top 3 parties in dead heat after Irish parliament elections
An exit poll suggests Ireland’s top three parties have finished in a virtual dead heat in parliamentary elections after a campaign dominated by concerns about economic austerity and a housing crisis
6:05PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Biden: first two states important, not critical
Joe Biden is continuing to waffle over whether he needs to do well in New Hampshire even as he promised supporters at a Manchester campaign office “the reports of our death are premature
5:10PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Bloomberg courts black voters in Alabama
Joe Biden is continuing to waffle over whether he needs to do well in New Hampshire even as he promised supporters at a Manchester campaign office “the reports of our death are premature
5:07PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
South Koreans explode with joy over 'Parasite' Oscar wins
South Koreans are reacting with rare collective joy after director Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” won the Oscar for best picture and three other awards
5:17AM ( 23 minutes ago )
2020 Watch: Is Mayor Pete for real?
Chaos in Iowa has sparked a deep sense of anxiety among Democrats who hoped the kickoff contest would provide clarity and evidence of excitement at the official starting line of the 2020 primary season
5:16AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Asia stocks decline amid warnings China virus still a threat
Global stocks have declined after China reported an uptick in new virus cases and analysts warned optimism the disease is under control might be premature
5:11AM ( 29 minutes ago )
China virus cases rise again, 66 more on ship in Japan
China is reporting a rise in new virus cases, denting optimism that disease control measures which isolated major cities might be working
5:10AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Merkel party's crisis deepens as designated successor quits
Angela Merkel's designated successor will quit her role as head of the Germany's strongest party and won't stand for the chancellorship following a debacle in a regional election
5:02AM ( 38 minutes ago )