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A Facebook oversight committee criticized the company’s account verification policy and concluded in a report that the platform offers preferential treatment to specific accounts over the rest, which slows down content monitoring and encourages the spread of fake news or hate messages.
Specifically, it is Facebook’s cross-checking program that in case of detecting sensitive content that violates the company’s policy cancels the content or suspends an account.
However, when it comes to one of the accounts that the company considers preferential, before taking action, a second review is done, said The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
In addition, these accounts are exempt from some or all of the penalties to which regular accounts are exposed for not complying with the social network’s rules.
In its report, echoed by the New York newspaper, the committee argues that the second review of “VIP” accounts causes sensitive content to remain undeleted for days or even weeks, something that does not happen with non-privileged accounts, which are deleted or blocked as soon as the breach is detected.
“Cross-checking is not designed or implemented in a way that complies with Meta’s (Facebook’s parent company) human rights responsibilities or the company’s values (…). Despite significant public concern about the program, Meta has not effectively addressed the problematic components of its system,” concludes the report, picked up by the WSJ.
According to the newspaper, more than five million accounts received some form of protection and, due to a lack of human capital, complaints against the content of these accounts were not routinely reviewed.
The oversight committee is composed of a group of professors, lawyers, human rights activists, and others who are tasked by Facebook with evaluating cases that have the potential to guide future decisions about the company’s content policy.
The report emphasizes that Facebook has implemented this policy despite its insistence that it applies the same policies to all users without exception.