Facebook protects millions of VIP users from moderation logs

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook, leaves the Merrion Hotel in Dublin after meeting with Irish politicians to discuss social media regulation, transparency in political advertising and the safety of young people and vulnerable adults. On Tuesday 2nd April 2019, in Dublin, Ireland.

Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Facebook is using a program that whitelists millions of VIP users from the company’s standard methods of moderating content, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The program is known as “Crosscheck” or “XCheck” and, according to internal documents of the journal, creates special rules for the moderation of content on millions of VIP accounts on Facebook and Instagram.

Every day, Facebook users can have their content removed immediately if the company’s AI technologies or hired content moderators discover that their posts violate the company’s rules. However, users of the XCheck program can have their content kept live on the Facebook services before it is routed to a separate moderation system. This process will also be staffed by more trained content moderators who are full-time, according to the report.

The report, which cites internal Facebook documents, said there were at least 5.8 million VIP Facebook users in 2020.

Among them is soccer star Neymar. In 2019, according to the report, he published nude photos of a woman who had accused him of rape on his Facebook accounts. This type of content would normally have been removed, but XCheck protected Neymar’s account and prevented Facebook moderators from deleting it immediately.

Ultimately, according to the report, 56 million Facebook and Instagram users saw Neymar’s content.

A Facebook spokesman told the journal that the company is phasing out the practice of whitelisting. The company did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Read the full report in the Wall Street Journal.

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