Videos doctored to make Pelosi appear drunk spread across social media

The speaker of the house appears to slur her words in a speech about Donald Trump.

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A still from a video of Nancy Pelosi manipulated to make her sound intoxicated during a speech about Donald Trump.

From Facebook

Videos of Nancy Pelosi, doctored to make it appear that the House speaker was drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across the internet in another case of political misinformation on social media.

A recording of a speech Pelosi gave Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event, in which she accused President Donald Trump of being part of a "cover-up," was subtly edited to make her voice garbled, The Washington Post found. The video was then posted widely to Facebook , Twitter and YouTube.

One version posted to Facebook has been viewed more than 1.4 million times and shared more than 30,000 times. Some of the more than 20,000 comments refer to her as "drunk." The video has appeared on multiple YouTube and Twitter accounts.

An analysis by the Post found that the Pelosi video has been slowed to about 75 percent of its original speed and altered to modify the pitch of her voice.

The video's authorship wasn't immediately clear, but its appearance highlights the challenge social media platforms face in trying to prevent misinformation, scams and other problematic content from going viral. The companies have especially focused lately on eliminating "coordinated inauthentic behavior" -- misinformation campaigns orchestrated by people using fake or stolen identities. Misinformation campaigns are designed to exploit divisions and spread chaos in targeted countries.

On Thursday night, Trump retweeted a different video of Pelosi that had been edited in a manner emphasizing her verbal tics. In his tweet, Trump wrote: "PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE." 

In April, Twitter came under fire for leaving up a tweet by Trump that included a video that purported to show Rep. Ilhan Omar being dismissive of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The video included out-of-context comments she made during a recent speech, leading to a flood of tweets threatening the life of the Muslim congresswoman.

YouTube said the videos violated its policies regarding what content is acceptable to post and were removed. A YouTube spokesman pointed out that the videos didn't surface prominently on the site.

"In fact, search results and watch next panels about Nancy Pelosi include videos from authoritative sources, usually at the top," the YouTube spokesman said.

Facebook rules don't require that content posted to the social media giant must be true, but the company works to reduce the distribution of inauthentic content, according to a person familiar with Facebook's practices. If fact-checkers determine the video is misleading, distribution could be significantly curbed by demoting it in users' News Feeds.

Pelosi's office didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Twitter declined to comment.

Originally published May 23.
Update, May 24: Adds Trump tweet of a selectively edited Pelosi video.