Last week, a manipulated Facebook video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), altered to make her look drunk, was shared widely and got about 2.6 million views on the web. Despite calls to take down the video, Facebook decided to leave it up.
Facebook defended its decision, saying that it believes people should make up their own minds about content on their site.
This situation once again brings up the question of whether Facebook is a neutral platform or an arbiter of information. Critics say that Facebook has thrust itself into the news business and should now be beholden to its standards. Defenders say that Facebook has been pushed into this position by cultural pressures, but is ultimately a platform, not a news site.
We discuss the issue through the lens of “deepfakes.”
Jeffrey McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University in Indiana and he is a columnist for The Hill; he is the author of “Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007); he tweets @Prof_McCall