Facebook Oversight Board Faults Company For Lack Of Transparency When Handling Famous Users

Facebook, Inc.’s FB Oversight Board has criticized the social media giant for having “not been fully forthcoming” regarding its “cross-check” system for reviewing content decisions related to its high-profile users.

What Happened: The Oversight Board cited a Wall Street Journal investigative piece that confirmed the platform’s rules for regular users did not always apply to famous users who were identified internally as “cross-check” or “Xcheck.” The Oversight Board complained Facebook executives did not acknowledge this system existed in the case of the year’s most prominent user ban.

“When Facebook referred the case related to former U.S. President Trump to the Board, it did not mention the cross-check system,” said the Oversight Board in a blog post. “Given that the referral included a specific policy question about account-level enforcement for political leaders, many of whom the Board believes were covered by cross-check, this omission is not acceptable.

“Facebook only mentioned cross-check to the Board when we asked whether Mr. Trump’s page or account had been subject to ordinary content moderation processes.”

Related Link: Facebook Fined $69.9M By UK For Flouting Rules On Giphy Acquisition

What Happens Next: The Oversight Board added that it has “accepted a request from Facebook, in the form of a policy advisory opinion, to review the company’s cross-check system and make recommendations on how it can be changed.”

The request covers guidance and ensuring ensure fairness and objectivity in its cross-check reviews, promoting transparency on this process and establishing criteria for deciding which people are included in cross-check.

Still, the Oversight Board acknowledged Facebook has to overcome a track record of not being fully cooperative with its inquiries.

“To assist with making our decisions and to push Facebook to be as transparent as possible, we send questions to Facebook about specific cases,” the blog post noted. “Of the 156 questions sent to Facebook about decisions we published through the end of June, Facebook answered 130, partially answered 12 and declined to answer 14.”

Photo: Stock Catalog / Flickr Creative Commons.

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Posted In: NewsMediacross-checkFacebook Oversight BoardPresident TrumpTransparencyWall Street Journal
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