Published: September 16, 2021
Millions of high-profile users, involving politicians and celebrities, are said to have been exempted from some or all of Facebook’s community rules. That seems to contradict the social network’s public declarations that its rules apply to everybody.
According to the company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook developed a program known as “cross check” or “XCheck.” On a few occasions, according to the documents, the program has protected public figures whose posts included incitement to violence or harassment.
According to the documents, the “whitelisted” accounts have also spread false information and conspiracy theories about the deadliness of vaccines that Facebook’s fact-checkers have deemed false.
As per The Wall Street Journal, the XCheck program included most government employees but not all candidates running for public office. Notably, XCheck included at least 5.8 million users in 2020.
Facebook, the third most visited website, has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for the content it removes and keeps up. The records are likely to reignite debates about whether the social network is implementing its rules properly. To examine some of its most difficult decisions, the company created an oversight board.
Facebook’s Oversight Board recommended that the company be more transparent, particularly about handling high-profile accounts, assuring that its policies treat all users equally. What’s more, advocacy groups and some of Facebook’s most outspoken critics have called for tighter regulation of the social media platform.
Urgent government regulation is required to ensure that human rights are effectively protected in the virtual environment. These revelations demonstrate that we cannot rely on corporations to self-regulate, according to Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general.