Facebook VIP members often escape scrutiny from their posts, even as CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly insists rules apply to all. Internal company documents show that the social media company created a secret system. This system exempts some high-profile users from its strict rules on posting.
XCheck Shields Facebook VIP Members
The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook created Xcheck. It’s a program used as a quality control measure for high-profile accounts.
These include Facebook VIP members such as celebrities, prominent journalists, high-profile politicians, and others. XCheck is now used to protect millions of Facebook VIP members from the normal policy checks.
The program adds VIP accounts to a whitelist. This action makes the accounts immune from policy enforcement. Some VIPs even manage to post material deemed in violation of Facebook’s content policy.
Documents show that XCheck sometimes protects public figures with questionable posts. This includes incitements to violence, harassment of another user, or posting inappropriate material. In contrast, normal, non-VIP Facebook users will get an immediate warning. Plus, moderators will remove the content.
Neymar’s Facebook Incident And Other Violations
For Facebook VIP members, it’s much easier to post what they want. In 2019, Brazilian football star Neymar posted nude photos of a woman using his account.
Posting nude pictures is a violation of the social platform’s terms and conditions. The woman in question accused the Brazilian star of rape. TO refute her charges, the player posted images to show their consensual relationship. He also accused the woman of extorting money from him.
Facebook standard procedure called for immediate deletion of posts showing “non-consensual intimate imagery”. However, XCheck protected Neymar’s accounts and kept the posts intact.
As a result, company moderators couldn’t remove any posts. When moderators managed to remove the posts, 56 million users already viewed them. The review said that followers reposted the images and videos 6,000 times.
Many also bullied and harassed the woman about her character. Eventually, no charges were filed against Neymar. Meanwhile, Brazilian authorities charged the woman with slander, extortion, and fraud.
Other whitelisted accounts that remained free from Facebook’s censors shared inflammatory claims. This includes posts insisting that vaccines are deadly.
This also includes charges that former President Donald Trump called asylum seekers “animals”. It also allowed posts accusing former State Secretary Hillary Clinton of covering up pedophile rings.
Facebook Is Not Doing What It Says It Does Publicly
In fact, a 2019 internal review of Facebook’s whitelisting practices found favoritism to Facebook VIP members both widespread and “not publicly defensible”. “We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly,” the confidential review concluded. It also called the company’s actions “a breach of trust” and added: “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”
Despite attempts to control the platform, XCheck actually expanded its whitelist to include at least 5.8 million users in 2020. Attempts to moderate content and avoid negative feedback, Facebook created invisible elite tiers within its system.
As a result, Facebook misled the public and its own Oversight Board. This is a panel to help ensure accountability for the company’s enforcement systems.
XCheck Criticism is Fair
By June, Facebook reported to the Oversight Board in writing that its system for high-profile users was used in “a small number of decisions”. Company spokesman Andy Stone said criticism of XCheck was fair.
However, he added that the system “was designed for an important reason: to create an additional step so we can accurately enforce policies on content that could require more understanding.”
Watch the YOU-BETTERKNOW video exposing that Facebook has a secret system granting 5.8 million high-profile users immunity from its rules:
What do you think about Facebook’s whitelist of VIP members? Do you think that everybody should be subject to the same rules regarding posts? Or, does Facebook have the right to exert control over its social media platform?
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