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Facebook’s program for VIPs allows politicians and celebs to break its guidelines, report says

Facebook has for years used somewhat identified VIP program that’s enabled hundreds of thousands of high-profile customers to skirt its guidelines, in accordance to a new report in The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, the program, known as “XCheck” or “cross check” was created so as to keep away from “PR fires,” the general public backlash that happens when Facebook made a mistake affecting a excessive profile person’s account. The cross examine program meant that if one in all these accounts broke its guidelines, the violation was despatched to a separate staff in order that it could possibly be reviewed by Facebook workers, fairly than its non-employee moderators who sometimes review rule-breaking content material.

Facebook had beforehand disclosed the existence , which had additionally been reported on by different shops. But The Wall Street Journal report revealed that “most of the content flagged by the XCheck system faced no subsequent review.” This successfully allowed celebrities, politicians and different excessive profile customers to break guidelines with out penalties.

In one incident described within the report, Brazilian soccer star Neymar posted nude pictures of a girl who had accused him of sexual assault. Such a submit is a violation of Facebook’s rule round non-consensual nudity, and rule breakers are sometimes banned from the platform. But the cross examine system “blocked Facebook’s moderators from removing the video,” and the submit was considered almost 60 million instances earlier than it was ultimately eliminated. His account confronted no different penalties.

Last year alone, the cross examine system enabled rule-breaking content material to be considered greater than 16 billion instances earlier than being eliminated, in accordance to inner Facebook paperwork cited by The Wall Street Journal. The report additionally says Facebook ‘misled’ its Oversight Board, which pressed the company on its cross examine system when weighing in on how the company ought to deal with Donald Trump’s “indefinite suspension.” The company advised the board on the time that the system solely affected “a small number” of its selections and that it was “not feasible” to share extra information.

“The Oversight Board has expressed on multiple occasions its concern about the lack of transparency in Facebook’s content moderation processes, especially relating to the company’s inconsistent management of high-profile accounts,” the Oversight Board stated in a press release shared . “The Board has repeatedly made recommendations that Facebook be far more transparent in general, including about its management of high-profile accounts, while ensuring that its policies treat all users fairly.”

Facebook advised The Wall Street Journal that its reporting was based mostly on “outdated information” and that the company has been making an attempt to enhance the cross examine system. “In the end, at the center of this story is Facebook’s own analysis that we need to improve the program,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone in a press release. “We know our enforcement is not perfect and there are tradeoffs between speed and accuracy.”

The revelations may immediate new investigations into Facebook’s content material moderation insurance policies. Some data associated to cross examine has been “turned over to the Securities and Exchange Commission and to Congress by a person seeking federal whistleblower protection,” in accordance to The Wall Street Journal.

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