Sen. Cruz On Doctored Pelosi Video: ‘Free Speech Is Messy’

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested Monday that a manipulated video published recently online of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is likely a free speech matter.

“At the end of the day free speech is messy,” Cruz said in an interview with The Washington Post, referring to a doctored viral video published in May that was designed to make Pelosi appear drunk. He added: “If something is fraudulent, I think that’s a basis for taking something down.”

The Texas Republican did not elaborate on whether the video was fraudulent. His comments come after Democrats and media pundits urged Facebook and Twitter to nix the video. Both companies refused, with Facebook arguing that the company does not have a policy requiring content to be factual.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gestures during a news conference on the America?s Affordable Health Choices Act on Capitol Hill in Washington July 22, 2009. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Tech experts have long worried about so-called “deepfakes,” which are AI-manipulated videos, audio and photos designed to stir up mayhem and change people’s perceptions. But the majority of the manipulations have been low-tech in nature, experts say. Researchers have even created a type of software designed to create such deepfake videos.

Various celebrities and pundits complained after Facebook executive Monika Bickert told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in May that the company decided dinging the video was the wrong move. Facebook believes providing users with accurate information is more important, Beikert said at the time.

Anyone who either sees the video is told that the video is deceptively doctored, she told Cooper who pressed her on why Facebook has the ability to eliminate more than 3 billion phony accounts but not one false video. (RELATED: Liberals Pounce After Facebook Exec Explains Why Doctored Pelosi Video Is Staying Up)

The Daily Beast later identified the man allegedly behind the video as Shawn Brooks, a black labor worker who runs multiple Facebook pages. He denied responsibility for creating the altered video and claimed that there were other admins on Facebook pages who could have posted it.

Cruz believes that Facebook, Twitter, and other Silicon Valley giants are systematically biased against conservatives. His office has not yet provided a comment to The Daily Caller News Foundation about whether the video should be removed.

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