Facebook reportedly has a “secret elite” of users who can violate its policies without facing “any consequences,” in what was described in an internal review as a “breach of trust.”
A report from The Wall Street Journal on Monday described a Facebook program known as “cross check,” or “XCheck,” which “shields millions of VIP users from the company’s normal enforcement process.” The report cited company documents, and it said that this XCheck system included at least 5.8 million high-profile users as of last year. “In practice, most of the content flagged by the XCheck system faced no subsequent review,” the Journal writes. Under this system, some users are “whitelisted,” making them “immune from enforcement actions,” according to the report. A 2019 internal review reportedly warned this poses “numerous legal, compliance, and legitimacy risks for the company and harm to our community.”
Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, told the Journal that the XCheck system was set up to “create an additional step so we can accurately enforce policies on content that could require more understanding.” But the 2019 internal review reportedly concluded that Facebook’s practices are “not publicly defensible” and said, “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences,” per the Journal. The review also reportedly said that the company’s actions amount to a “breach of trust” and that “we are not actually doing what we say we do publicly.” In one incident described in the report, Brazilian soccer star Neymar avoided having his account deleted despite posting “revenge porn.”
Stone told the Journal that Facebook is phasing out its whitelisting practice, adding, “A lot of this internal material is outdated information stitched together to create a narrative that glosses over the most important point: Facebook itself identified the issues with cross check and has been working to address them.” Read more at The Wall Street Journal.