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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook’s moderation policies are different for normal users and celebrities.
  • Facebook runs a program called “XCheck” which sets different rules for average users and celebs.
  • Facebook had over 5.8 million VIP Facebook users in 2020, who were enrolled in the company’s XCheck program.

Facebook seems to have different rules for different users especially if it is public figure, Facebook is apparently not very stern. As per the latest findings of the Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s moderation policies are different for normal users and celebrities. The report states that Facebook runs a program called “XCheck”, which allows celebrities including actors, politicians and others to bypass the rules and guidelines that are followed by average users. Facebook has also claimed to treat everyone equally irrespective of their social status, but the report has dug out some dirt on the social media platform.

The documents obtained by Wall Street Journal reveals that Facebook’s XCheck program lets celebrities including politicians, actors create their own rule for content moderation. The XCheck program is applicable on Instagram and Facebook. For instance, whenever a user posts something that goes against Facebook’s policies and guidelines, the social media app takes the post down immediately or halts its reach if the artificial intelligence technologies detect something wrong with the post. However, things didn’t happen the same way for the users in XCheck program.

The report reveals that Facebook had over 5.8 million VIP Facebook users in 2020, who were enrolled in the company’s XCheck program.

Facebook’s XCheck program or the “cross-check” program was initially designed to moderate the accounts of high-profile users. “The program, known as “cross-check” or “XCheck,” was initially intended as a quality-control measure for actions taken against high profile accounts, including celebrities, politicians and journalists. Today, it shields millions of VIP users from the company’s normal enforcement process, the documents show. Some users are “whitelisted”—rendered immune from enforcement actions—while others are allowed to post rule-violating material pending Facebook employee reviews that often never come,” the report states.

The XCheck Program allowed soccer player Neymar to post nude pictures of a woman who had accused him of rape. The content was not removed immediately, it was taken down after 10 million followers of the soccer star had already viewed it.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone has said that the company needs to “improve the program” as the company is aware that their “enforcement is not perfect and there are tradeoffs between speed and accuracy. He also told the journal that social media company is in the process of phasing out the practice of whitelisting.

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