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‘Known users exempt from rules on Facebook’ | Tech

Millions of well-known Facebook users such as athletes, actors, politicians and journalists do not have to follow the rules that Facebook says it enforces for all users.




That writes business newspaper The Wall Street Journal based on internal documents from the social media company. Some users were not checked at all, others only when there was a fuss about a message. Facebook denies having given preferential treatment to certain users.

In total, 5.8 million accounts fell under the program called XCheck (cross-check). This created an invisible elite among the small 3 billion users of the social network. In addition, in order to maintain the system, Facebook misled the supervisory board the company had just established to see if it enforces the rules.

An example of a person who received preferential treatment is footballer Neymar. In 2019, the Brazilian was able to post nude photos on Facebook of a woman who had accused him of rape, while such photos are always prohibited under Facebook’s rules.

Incorrect

Other accounts on the protected list were able to post content that had previously been labeled incorrect by Facebook’s fact-checkers. For example, they could accuse Hillary Clinton of protecting groups of pedophiles and claim about then-President Donald Trump that he called all refugees ‘beasts’.

In 2019, Facebook already examined the practices internally. This showed that users on the protected list were regularly favored. The internal audit then called this ‘not defendable in public’. “We are not doing what we publicly claim to do.”

Facebook response

Facebook denies the deception of its own supervisory board in a response. According to a spokesperson, criticism of XCheck is appropriate, but that system has been set up to double-check messages so that they are properly understood. In addition, Facebook is said to be in the process of phasing out the protected users system.

Some of the documents where The Wall Street Journal is also owned by the US stock market watchdog SEC. They were passed on by someone who hopes to be identified as a whistleblower by the US authorities.

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‘Known users exempt from rules on Facebook’ | Tech
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