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If Your Time is short
- The original recording of President Joe Biden’s Fourth of July speech clocked his remarks at around eight minutes. A version that appears on Facebook lasts 10 minutes.
- A digital media forensics expert says there are clear signs that the video was altered.
In a video that’s being shared on Facebook, President Joe Biden’s speech on July 4 appears perhaps slower than usual, and a little distorted.
Some people commenting on the post certainly noticed.
"If you’ve been around people with mental disorders or illnesses, you know what a medicated person’s speech sounds like," one person said. "He has clearly been medicated."
"He is slurring his words badly," someone else said.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Comparing the video in the Facebook post with a recording of the speech posted by PBS NewsHour on Youtube, it appeared to us that the video had been altered. But we wanted to check with an expert.
Siwei Lyu, director of the University of Buffalo Media Forensic Lab and co-director of the school’s Center for Information Integrity, said there are "two telltale signs" that the video in the post had been edited.
In the original video, Biden’s speech is about eight minutes long. In the video that appears in the Facebook post, his speech is about 10 minutes long.
"It is roughly 80% of the original playback sound," Lyu said.
What’s more, he said he could hear "clear audio artifacts" that suggested the video had been altered, especially when the crowd clapped for Biden at the beginning of his speech.
"The clapping sounds like an echo, which is the artifact caused by the time-stretching algorithm," he said.
What does that mean? Lyu said: "The time-stretching algorithm is widely used to change the playback speech of audio, but it tries to keep the original pitch in the sound while slowing down the tempo, so that the slowed sound would not sound like slowing down a vinyl record."
"In my opinion," Lyu said, "there is no doubt that the Facebook version of the video is a slowed-down version of the original PBS video."
It’s the same technique that was used to slow down a speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make it appear like she was slurring in 2019, he said.
We then rated claims that Pelosi was slurring during her speech Pants on Fire.
This post gets the same rating: Pants on Fire.
Facebook post, July 4, 2022
YouTube, WATCH LIVE: President Biden delivers remarks at July 4th event with military families, July 4, 2022
PolitiFact, Viral video of Nancy Pelosi slowed down her speech, May 24, 2019
Siwei Lyu, director of the Media Forensic Lab and co-director of the Center for Information Integrity, University of Buffalo, July 6, 2022
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