The video, which featured a speech critical of U.S. President Donald Trump, had been edited to slow down Pelosi’s speech pattern without distorting her voice. The effect made people question whether she was drunk.
The post initially appeared from a Facebook group called Politics WatchDog in late May and had been viewed millions of times.
At the time, Facebook said in a statement to Global News that it was not removing the video because it did not violate the platform’s community standards.
But critics — including Pelosi herself — called for its removal because it showed an event “that they know is false,” Pelosi said.
The video has disappeared from the social media site as of June 4.
But it’s unclear who removed it.
A post on Politics WatchDog from Monday accused Facebook of removing the video. But a spokesperson from Facebook confirmed to Global News they did not.
Online news website the Daily Beast says the man behind the Politics WatchDog Facebook group, and a second Facebook group which posted the same video, was the person who originally uploaded it, citing an anonymous Facebook official.
Shawn Brooks admitted to being an admin on the groups but denied posting the video. He is now is raising money on GoFundMe for “legal fees” after his identity was exposed.
Facebook hasn’t replied to a request for comment on the matter.
In identifying the man as an American day labourer from New York, the Daily Beast said it teaches an “urgent lesson” about the perpetrators of fake news.
“Russia doesn’t have a monopoly on disinformation,” Kevin Poulsen of the Daily Beast writes. “In the end, the Speaker of the House didn’t have to look so far to find the people behind her viral hoax. One of them was just a few hours north, in the Bronx.”
But critics — including those defending Brooks, and other journalists who aren’t — said identifying Brooks amounted to a “hit job” and “doxxing.” (Doxxing refers to publicly releasing someone’s personal information, such as an address or phone numbers.)
The editor of the Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, called it “repellent to unleash the resources of a major news outlet on an obscure, anonymous, powerless, quasi-unemployed citizen.”
Daily Beast editor Noah Shachtman defended the article on CNN saying because the hoax video reached the “highest levels of power, with Rudy Giuliani himself tweeting it out,” reporting on the video, and those who created it, was in the public interest.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.