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Facebook shields VIPs from some of its rules

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

The program, mentioned as “cross-check” or “XCheck,” shields many elite users from rules that Facebook claims to use equally at the social network, consistent with a report citing internal documents.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone during a series of tweets defended the program, but noted 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.

“We know our enforcement isn’t perfect and there are tradeoffs between speed and accuracy.”

The article cites samples of posts from high-profile people, including one from soccer star Neymar showing nude images of a lady who accused him of rape which Facebook subsequently removed.

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

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

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

“White-listed” accounts have shared claims that Hillary Clinton had covered up “pedophile rings,” which then-President Donald Trump had called all refugees seeking asylum “animals,” consistent with the Journal.

XCheck grew to incorporate a minimum of 5.8 million users in 2020, the report indicated.

Facebook said during a post about cross-checking three years ago that it doesn’t protect the profile, page or content from being removed but “is simply done to form sure our decision is correct.”

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