‘Double standard’ in Facebook’s ‘XCheck’

Facebook exempts certain celebrities and other high-profile users from some its own rules for posts as part of a program launched as a quality-control mechanism, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The program, referred to as “cross check” or “XCheck,” shields millions of elite users from rules that Facebook claims apply equally to all.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the social media giant is aware its enforcement of rules is “not perfect.”

“There aren’t two systems of justice; it’s an attempted safeguard against mistakes,” Stone tweeted in response to the Journal report.

The article cites as an example a post by football star Neymar showing nude images of a woman who accused him of rape that Facebook subsequently removed.

A double standard regarding content moderation would defy assurances Facebook gave to an independent board set up as a final arbiter of disputes regarding what is allowed to be posted at the leading social network.

“The Oversight Board has expressed on multiple occasions its concern about the lack of transparency in Facebook’s content moderation processes, especially the company’s inconsistent management of high-profile accounts,” board spokesman John Taylor said.

The article reports that some users are “white-listed” – given protection from enforcement actions – while in other cases reviews of potentially problematic content simply fail to take place.

XCheck grew to include at least 5.8 million users in 2020, the report indicated.

Facebook said in a post three years ago that cross-checking does not protect the profile or content from being removed but “is simply done to make sure our decision is correct.”

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