It shouldn’t be surprising that Facebook makes exceptions to cater to its famous users. However, the scope of their willingness to bend the rules is shocking. According to a bombshell report this week from The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has operated a program called “XCheck” for years that allows celebrities, politicians and other notable users to avoid the company’s content moderation rules.
According to the report, Facebook has quietly allowed about 5.8 million notable users to basically post whatever they want without any fear of consequences.
“For a select few members of our community, we are not enforcing our policies and standards,” an internal Facebook report said. “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”
In the wake of the report, Facebook went on the defensive, saying that it didn’t reveal anything that the company isn’t already trying to fix. However, Facebook also acknowledged that it needs to do a better job.
“In the end, at the center of this story is Facebook’s own analysis that we need to improve the program,” Facebook communications director Andy Stone tweeted. “We know our enforcement is not perfect and there are tradeoffs between speed and accuracy.”
For a company that says it’s committed to strengthening its content moderation policies, this report is a potentially devastating PR nightmare. Here’s hoping it motivates the social media giant to make serious changes to this extremely flawed system.
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