Meta oversight panel: Facebook 'Cross Check' program easy on some VIPs, scrutinize others like Trump

The board made 32 recommendations for Facebook and Meta, including to "prioritize expression that is important for human rights."

Updated: December 6, 2022 - 8:17am

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Meta's oversight board on Tuesday released its roughly year-long audit of Facebook's content-review program know as "cross check" – finding the posts of some VIP users were highly scrutinized while those of others high-profile users were allowed to be removed or modified with little or no punishment.

Key findings from the report include "unequal treatment of users," "delayed removal of violating content," "failure to track core metrics" and "lack of transparency" around the cross-check program, which gives some users greater protection than others.

The board made 32 recommendations for Facebook including one to "prioritize expression that is important for human rights" and another to hide content that is usually left up during "enhanced review."

The watchdog's report comes more than a year after The Wall Street Journal published whistleblower revelations about the cross-check, which resulted in the internal review.

Documents published at the time showed that former President Trump, conservative commentator Candace Owens and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg were on the VIP list that made them eligible for additional review if their posts were suspected to violate the platform's rules.

The Journal article last year found that under the cross check program some VIP users were exempted from some or all penalties for violating platform rules, while others were allowed to remove violating posts without penalty or received watered-down punishments for misconduct.