Facebook provides special treatment to influential users and exempts them from complying with rules of conduct. The information is from a report published by Wall Street Journal this Monday (13). According to documents obtained by the newspaper, the social network created a secret program called “XCheck”, which exempts celebrities, politicians and other personalities from complying with some – or, in some cases, all – guidelines that apply to other Facebook users.
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In the XCheck system or “Cross Check” (cross check, in free translation), some users are included in a special list that protects them from inspection actions. Others, in turn, are allowed to post material that violates Facebook rules, waiting for content reviews that often don’t happen. According to Wall Street Journal, the program would be in place from 2019, and there would be at least 5.8 million names on the secret list by 2020. It is worth remembering that, in a recent measurement, the platform had 2.89 billion users.
Facebook gives celebrities permission to break network rules, newspaper says; understand the controversy — Photo: Ana Letícia Loubak/TechTudo
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Privileged profiles were not informed or marked as elected from the XCheck program, according to Wall Street Journal, but were selected based on criteria such as “popularity”, “influence” or “newsworthy.” Also according to the newspaper, several Facebook employees were assigned to the program, and they could freely include and exclude profiles from the list.
Documents obtained by the vehicle revealed that the XCheck program allowed, for example, player Neymar Jr. to post intimate photos of the woman who accused him of rape. The content, rather than being removed immediately, remained on the air for more than a day, contrary to Facebook community guidelines. The post would have been viewed 56 million times, as stated by Wall Street Journal, until it is deleted.
The newspaper’s investigation also points to other celebrities who received special treatment. Among them are former US President Donald Trump, currently banned from the network, and Facebook creator himself, Mark Zuckerberg.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, would be one of the members of the secret XCheck program — Photo: Disclosure/Facebook
An internal review of Facebook’s practices, carried out in 2019, recognized that the whitelist “represents various legal, compliance and legitimacy risks for the company and harms our community”, and that the practice of favoritism is not “publicly defensible” .
“We’re not really doing what we say we do publicly,” reports the confidential analysis, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”
In response to the Wall Street Journal, a Facebook spokesman said the criticisms of using XCheck were “fair”, but explained that the system was created to deal with content that may require “more understanding”.
“Many of these internal documents are outdated information and were used to create a narrative that covers the most important point: Facebook has identified issues with cross-checking and has been working to resolve them. campaign to improve the way the system operates,” said a Facebook spokesman.
Andy Stone, communication representative for Facebook, came out in defense of the social network on Twitter — Photo: Reproduction/Twitter
After the story was published, Andy Stone, communications policy manager at Facebook, came out to the network’s defense in a series of Twitter posts. Endorsing the company’s stance, he said that cross-checking serves as a second layer of review to ensure policies are applied correctly, and that the program is an “attempt to protect against errors.”