Facebook CEO says delay in flagging fake Pelosi video was ‘execution mistake’

A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)
Updated 27 June 2019

Facebook CEO says delay in flagging fake Pelosi video was ‘execution mistake’

  • The video, a type of realistic alteration known as a “deepfake,” was slowed to make Pelosi’s speech seem slurred and edited to make it appear that she repeatedly stumbled over her words

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said his social media company took too long to flag as false an altered video of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that appeared to show the Democratic Representative slurring and tripping through a speech.
Zuckerberg, speaking at a conference in Aspen, Colorado, said the slow response was “an execution mistake on our side.”
The video, a type of realistic alteration known as a “deepfake,” was slowed to make Pelosi’s speech seem slurred and edited to make it appear that she repeatedly stumbled over her words. After the video surfaced last month, it was widely shared on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube.
YouTube took down the video, citing policy violations, but Facebook did not remove the clip, only limiting its distribution and telling users trying to share it that it might be misleading.
“It took a while for our system to flag the video and for our fact checkers to rate it as false... and during that time it got more distribution than our policies should have allowed,” Zuckerberg said.
Pelosi criticized Facebook’s refusal to remove the video and said the incident had convinced her the company knowingly enabled Russian election interference.
Misinformation through altered videos is a rising concern in the run-up to the 2020 US presidential election, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) is now being used to produce clips that look genuine and realistically appear to show people saying words they have not spoken. The term “deepfake” is a combination of “deep learning” and “fake.”
After the Pelosi video, Zuckerberg himself was portrayed in a spoof deepfake video on Instagram in which he appears to say “whoever controls the data, controls the future.” Facebook, which owns Instagram, did not to take down the video.
Zuckerberg said Facebook is considering developing a specific policy on deepfakes.
“This is a little bit of sausage making here because we are going through the policy process of thinking through what the deepfake policy should be,” he said. “This is certainly an important area as the AI technology gets better.”


US lawmakers urge Apple to restore HKMap app used in Hong Kong

This file photo taken on October 10, 2019 shows a smartphone displaying the "HKmap.live" app in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 39 min 50 sec ago

US lawmakers urge Apple to restore HKMap app used in Hong Kong

  • The lawmakers said Apple has censored at least 2,200 apps in China, citing the nonprofit group GreatFire

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan group of seven US lawmakers including Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday urged Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook to restore the HKMap app used in Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, Apple removed the app that helped Hong Kong protesters track police movements, saying it was used to target officers.
Apple declined to comment.
The group separately wrote Activision Blizzard Inc’s chief executive Robert Kotick, calling on him to reverse the company’s decision to ban a player who voiced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Activision Blizzard did not immediately comment on Friday.
“You have said publicly that you want to work with China’s leaders to effect change rather than sit on the sidelines and yell at them. We, too, believe that diplomacy and trade can be democratizing forces. But when a repressive government refuses to evolve or, indeed, when it doubles down, cooperation can become complicity,” the members wrote to Cook.
Apple said on Oct. 9 that it had begun an immediate investigation after “many concerned customers in Hong Kong” contacted it about the app and the company found it had endangered law enforcement and residents.
It said the HKMap app “has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement.” Critics said Apple acted after pressure from Beijing in a commentary in the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper.
The lawmakers said Apple has censored at least 2,200 apps in China, citing the nonprofit group GreatFire.
Apple’s action came amid a furor surrounding the US National Basketball Association after a team official tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests, which led Chinese sponsors and partners to cut ties with the NBA.
Last week, Blizzard reduced the punishment dealt out to Chung Ng Wai, a Hong Kong-based Hearthstone esports gamer, for his public support of pro-democracy protests after its decision sparked controversy among players and the public.
Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, said initially that it would suspend the player from competition for a year and strip him of prize money.