Facebook maintains a user group, which includes celebrities and politicians, outside its rules of conduct, according to a report published on Tuesday (13) by the Wall Street Journal.
According to the American newspaper, based on documents it claims to have obtained, the social network created a system called XCheck, which saves these users from some or, in certain cases, from all the rules that apply to other users.
XCheck was initially developed to evaluate actions against popular profiles. By 2020, at least 5.8 million users would join the list.
The newspaper claims that this program, for example, allowed Neymar to post intimate photos of the woman who accused him of rape. Millions of followers were able to see the photographs, in which she appeared naked, for more than a day, before they were deleted. The player denies the charge, and has not been indicted. Wanted, a spokesman for Neymar told the newspaper that the athlete follows the rules of the social network.
Former American President Donald Trump was part of that same VIP list, says the report, until his account was suspended from the network. Members of the US Congress, the European Parliament, mayors, activists and even Mark Zuckerberg, president of Facebook, are also part of the privileged group.
Some of these users, according to the report, would not be subject to punishment in cases of violations of the network’s rules of conduct, such as posts that cause harassment and incitement to violence.
The same tool allowed accounts included on the list to share false news linking Democrat Hillary Clinton, then US presidential candidate in 2016, to pedophile networks. Also in the select group are profiles that spread the idea that vaccines against Covid kill.
An internal review by Facebook, carried out in 2019, found that there was favoritism over the users of this list, and that the practice would not be “publicly defensible”.
“Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences,” the network said in the document, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A Facebook spokesperson said criticisms of XCheck were fair, adding that the system was designed to “create an additional step so that we can properly apply content rules that could require more understanding”.
The same interlocutor said that the company is working to end this practice and that many of the materials obtained by the American newspaper are “outdated information, stitched together to create a narrative that ignores the most important point: Facebook itself has identified the problems and has been working to solve them”.
The finding goes against what Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly says: that all users are on an equal footing under the platform’s rules of conduct.