Facebook created secret elite tier of users who didn’t have to follow content rules

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Facebook secretly maintained an elite group of users known as “XCheck,” exempting millions of VIPs, including athletes and politicians, from the social networking giant’s normal content moderation rules.

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As a result, posts featuring content that are usually classified as revenge porn and misinformation made their way to millions of users, New one wall street journal found in the investigation.

The XCheck policy, which stands for “Cross Check”, was originally created as a quality control measure, allowing Facebook greater latitude in considering content moderation decisions relating to high-profile users of the site. .


Now, according to internal documents reviewed by magazine, it is used by millions of people, who often face little or no pushback when they exceed their post limit compared to normal Facebook users.

For example, in 2019, soccer star Neymar posted posts that included nude photos of a woman who accused him of rape, which were usually removed.

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However, the Paris Saint-Germain forward was on the XCheck list, which blocked Facebook moderators from deleting the post for more than a day, exposing it to more than 50 million people. In addition, his account was able to remain active after the case went “in the lead,” contrary to the site’s usual “one strike” policy on disabling profiles that posted such content, the documents show.

(Neymar denied the allegation of rape, and no charges were ever filed against him.)

Other posts from influential users of XCheck included false information about Hillary Clinton and medical science.

In a 2019 memo, Facebook researchers accused the company of “deliberately exposing users to misinformation that we have procedures and resources in place to mitigate.”

That same year, an internal review by Facebook broke down elite user status, calling it “not publicly defensible” and a major “breach of trust”.

“We’re not really doing what we say we do in public,” the review said. “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”

A person seeking whistleblower protection has reportedly handed over some internal documents which have been seen as part of magazine Investigations to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulator that investigates financial fraud.

The social networking site defended its content practices, saying magazine that it is erasing elements of the XCheck program.

The policy was “designed for one important reason: to create an additional step so that we can more accurately apply policies to content that may require greater understanding,” wrote a spokesperson, “in this internal content. There is a lot of outdated information that has been stitched together to create a narrative that highlights the most important point: Facebook itself identified the issues with CrossCheck and is working to address them.”

There were approximately 5.8 million XCheck users in 2020.


Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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