Exclusive Moderation Rules for Celebrities: Facebook Has Its Favorites

  • Ricardo Olmeca
  • Sep 14, 2021
Exclusive Moderation Rules for Celebrities: Facebook Has Its Favorites

This month, Wall Street Journal revealed that Facebook moderates celebrities’ activity differently than it does with regular users.

Facebook has some kind of “white lists” for high-profile accounts of politicians, sportsmen, journalists, and showbiz celebrities so that the typical moderation rules have exceptions for them. These “white lists” consist of almost 6 million profiles, including Donald Trump or Neymar, for example. The immunity to strict post moderation helped Neymar to avoid sanctions against his post with nude woman photos in 2019. Another case is Donald Trump’s post where he called immigrants “animals” in 2018. Such actions from common users would have likely resulted in a ban.

Specific post moderation is not the only issue about whitelisted users. Publicity also admitted the inaccurate fact-checking relating to the posts of Hilary Clinton, or the posts about vaccines, etc. It seems that those 6 million users have the privilege of posting offensive or false material, while Facebook named this kind of favoritism as an attempt to “reduce false positives when enforcing against high profile personalities”.

The Facebook “exception” system has its own name, “XCheck” or “check cross,” and, according to Andy Stone, the policy communication manager at Facebook, it has never been hidden from the public. “Cross check” has been working since 2018, and Facebook posted about it on its blog. In that post, Facebook described “XCheck” as a “second layer of review” for “certain profiles.” Though, the post was caused by another scandal about “Cross check”.

After the Wall Street Journal investigation, Andy Stone said that the public concern is fair and that Facebook will revise “XCheck.” Will you keep an eye on Facebook’s next steps? And what do you think of “XCheck”: is it a necessary measure or just an unfair algorithm? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, please.

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