A spokesperson for Facebook was lectured on the responsibility of the news media by none other than CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Speaking about a now-viral distorted video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Cooper confronted Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert Friday during “Anderson Cooper 360” on getting “out of the news business” if the social media giant couldn’t do it right.
One version of a doctored video, which used actual footage from a Center for American Progress press conference to make Pelosi appear as if she is drunk, remained on Facebook as of Friday even though it was known to be fake.
“They’re not even commenting on it,” Cooper remarked as he introduced Bickert as a Facebook spokesperson.
“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.
Bickert countered by explaining that Facebook had already taken action, warning users that the video has been altered and “dramatically reducing redistribution.”
“Anybody who is seeing this video in their news feed, anybody who is going to share it to somebody else, anybody who has shared it in the past, they are being alerted that this video is false,” she said.
“And this is part of the way that we deal with misinformation,” Bickert continued. “We work with internationally certified fact-checking organizations that are independent from Facebook, and we think these are the right organizations to be making decisions about whether something is true or false. And as soon as we get — and we did in this case, as soon as we get a rating from them that content is false, then we dramatically reduce the distribution of that content.”
Cooper, not satisfied with the response, pressed Bickert on why the video was still up.
“You have no problem removing 3.39 billion fake Facebook accounts from October through March. So why is it okay for you to remove fake Facebook accounts, but it’s not okay to remove a clearly fake video?” Cooper asked as Bickert explained the social media platform’s policy on fake accounts.
She pushed back, saying Facebook thinks that “people make their own informed choice about what to believe. Our job is to make sure we’re getting them accurate information.”
“I guess I still just don’t logically understand — I understand it’s a big business to get into of trying to figure out what’s true or not, but you’re making money by being in the news business,” Cooper shot back.
“If you can’t do it well, shouldn’t you just get out of the news business?” he asked, apparently missing the irony of his question.
“Look, I reject the notion that we’re not doing a lot to counter misinformation…” Bickert began, pushing back.
“Again, you’re in the news business. There’s a responsibility that comes with that. And this is, this isn’t even a question,” Cooper pressed as the Facebook executive noted that she is actually in the “social media business.”
“Well, you are in the news business,” Cooper corrected. “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,” he added.
Though many would agree with the premise of Cooper’s argument, the irony of its source and the question of whether he would be as passionate about defending a conservative who was the subject of a mocking video, sparked much reaction on Twitter.
Pot meet kettle
— Dennis H. (@dentrev1) May 25, 2019
— Corleone Solo (@CorleoneSolo) May 25, 2019
Ummm. This is CNN.
— Rat Fink (@shmidtBC) May 25, 2019
I was going to say that hasn’t stopped CNN…
— I’m just looking for the Ranch Dressng. (@kim_alley) May 25, 2019
@andersoncooper asks FB Exec Monika Bickert what she would do if there were videos on FB of @realDonaldTrump w/video slowed down making it sound like he’s drunk…Um, THERE ARE VIDEOS LIKE THAT & yet somehow @lisatozzi @donie @smervosh @drewharwell @brianstelter were fine w/it
— Michael (@Michael2014abc) May 25, 2019
He’s not wrong, but coming from the Avenatti network..
— Laura ❇️🌈 (@laura_lrnzo) May 25, 2019
She should have asked him the same question 😂
— G. Fitz (@GregFit73256454) May 25, 2019
CNN criticizing news coverage. Wow.
— Christopher Hagen (@XCHagenX) May 25, 2019
That is hysterical …… CNN whining about #FakeNews
— Never Better (@Nutsin1983) May 25, 2019