As a panel of international politicians grilled two Facebook executives in Ottawa, representatives for the social media giant said it won’t remove misleading content from the platform during Canada’s upcoming federal election campaign.
Representatives from 11 countries were gathered in Ottawa for a second day for the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy, which is examining the role of tech companies in safeguarding privacy and democratic rights.
Kevin Chan and Neil Potts, Facebook global policy directors, were peppered with questions about the company’s decision not to remove a doctored video of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intended to portray her as drunk and slurring her words.
“We are all aware that new technology is going to make the creation of these fake films or manipulated films so much easier,” said U.K. MP Damian Collins.
Potts responded by reiterating Facebook’s position that the video has been flagged as false by third-party fact checkers and Facebook has reduced its distribution.
“I want you to answer the question as to why [Facebook], unlike YouTube, are not taking this film down,” Collins shot back.
Both Potts and Chan said Facebook has taken a position to inform people when content is fake, but ultimately allow individuals to make their own decisions. They would, however, remove content from fake or spam accounts.
Conservative MP Peter Kent asked Chan if a similar video of a Canadian politician were created would the social media company remove it.
“Does Facebook defend the concept that it doesn’t have to be true to be your platform?” Kent asked.
Chan said it’s not Facebook’s job to determine the line between “free speech” and “censorship.”
“If lawmakers, in their wisdom, want to draw the line somewhere north or south of censorship, we would obviously oblige with local law,” Chan said.