The quasi-independent oversight committee of Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said on Tuesday that an internal system exempts prominent users, including former US President Donald Trump, from some or all of its content moderation rules need a major overhaul.
The Supervisory Board’s report, which has been in place for more than a year, says the system “has shortcomings in key areas that the company must address.”
The panel opened the review after The Wall Street Journal reported last year that it had been abused by many of its elite users, who had posted material that resulted in punishment for the common man, including including harassment and incitement to violence.
According to the Journal article, Facebook’s rules don’t appear to apply to some VIP users while others face reviews for posts that violate the rules, according to the Journal article. , says the system has at least 5.8 million exempt users as of 2020.
The Supervisory Board’s report said the system – known as “XCheck” or cross-checking – resulted in users being treated unfairly and led to delays in taking down content that broke the rules. It shows average decisions take up to five days.
Of its 32 recommendations, the panel said Meta “should prioritize expression that is important to human rights, including expression of particular importance to the public.”
The report says users who are “likely to generate this type of expression” should be given higher priority than others on the cross-checklist because they are business partners.
“If users included due to their commercial importance regularly post infringing content, then they will no longer benefit from special protection,” the council said.
Addressing other flaws, the board also urged Meta to remove or hide content while it was being reviewed, and said the company should “radically enhance transparency around cross-checking and how it works”, such as outlining “clear, public criteria” for who gets on the list.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s global vice president of public affairs, tweeted that the company had requested a review “so we can continue our work to improve the program.”
To fully address the board’s recommendations, “we agreed to respond within 90 days,” he added.
The board of directors backed Facebook’s decision to ban Trump last year over concerns he incited violence that led to riots on the US Capitol. But it said the company did not mention the cross-checking system in the ruling request.