Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reached out to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss how the social media site handles misinformation after a doctored video of her went viral – but she has yet to call him back.
Zuckerberg made the move after Pelosi criticized his company for not taking down a altered video, which was edited to make the speaker appear drunk.
The speaker’s snub of the tech titan reflects her frustration with Facebook’s handling of the situation, sources close to the speaker told The Washington Post, which revealed Zuckerberg’s effort to make amends with the powerful California lawmaker.
Pelosi slammed Facebook last month for not taking down the altered video, accusing them of ‘lying to the public’ and saying it shows ‘they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election.’
Facebook warned users the video of Pelosi is fake but it refused to remove the altered footage of her speech at a Center for American Progress event, which was subtly edited to make her voice sound garbled and slowed down, as if she was under the influence of alcohol.
It’s the latest hit against social media companies, who have found themselves under fire from lawmakers after intelligence agencies disclosed the ways Russians used those platforms to influence the 2016 election.
Several Democratic presidential contenders are calling for greater regulation of companies like Facebook and Twitter.
In March, Zuckerberg called for regulars to play a greater role in establishing rules for the internet.
In a public Facebook post, he called for stricter regulation of ‘harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.’
His move was seen as a way to counter the criticism of his company and came as regulators were looking at fining Facebook.
Despite Pelosi’s refusal to get in touch with Zuckerberg, his staff and hers are in contact, The Post reported.
The altered video of Pelosi has been shared by right-wing websites in an attempt to discredit the speaker.
Pelosi issued a stinging rebuke to the social media company in the video’s wake.
‘We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians. I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it’s wrong,’ Pelosi told KQED News in San Francisco last month. ‘I can take it … But [Facebook is] lying to the public.’
And President Donald Trump got in on the action when he tweeted a video from Fox Business Network, which was a compilation video of the congresswoman ‘stammering’ during a press briefing.
”PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” he wrote alongside the video last month.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, also tweeted a link to the altered video with the comment: ‘What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.’ The tweet has since been deleted.
Facebook has admitted its own failures to combat fake news in the lead-up to the 2016 election, and had introduced a system that was intended to stop the flow of misleading and false material.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in his first public comments on his Russia investigation, heavily emphasized Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election.
‘I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments – that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,’ he said in May.
‘That allegation deserves the attention of every American.’