Facebook's oversight board accuses company of giving special treatment to VIP accounts

Facebook utilizes a system called "Cross-Check" which reviews content moderation decisions relating to high-profile accounts, such as celebrities and politicians.

Updated: October 21, 2021 - 8:45pm

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Facebook's oversight board criticized the tech giant for allegedly not holding high-profile accounts, such as celebrities, to the site's normal content moderation standards. 

According to VOA News, the board accused Facebook of not being "fully forthcoming with the Board on its ‘Cross-Check’ system, which the company uses to review content decisions relating to high-profile users."

Facebook utilizes a system called "Cross-Check" which reviews content moderation decisions relating to high-profile accounts, such as celebrities and politicians.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the program ballooned to include over  5.8 million users since 2020.

"​​At times, the documents show, [Cross-Check] has protected public figures whose posts contain harassment or incitement to violence, violations that would typically lead to sanctions for regular users," the Journal reported. 

The oversight board also accuses Facebook of intentionally keeping the panel in the dark concerning crucial details about "Cross-Check."

"When Facebook referred the case related to former U.S. President Trump to the Board, it did not mention the cross-check system," the board wrote in a blog post. "Given that the referral included a specific policy question about account-level enforcement for political leaders, many of whom the Board believes were covered by cross-check, this omission is not acceptable."

The panel went on to say that the tech company only told the board about "Cross-Check" when it was reviewing posts made by former President Donald Trump. 

Facebook's oversight board is comprised of lawyers, journalists, and academics from all over the globe. 

The panel was established in October of 2020 following widespread criticism that the company wasn't doing enough to stop the spread of problematic content.

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