SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 6 — An oversight panel said today that Facebook and Instagram put the business on human rights when it gives special attention to posts that violate the rules of politicians, celebrities and other high-profile people. users.
A year-long review by an independent “top court” conducted by the tech firm ended up calling for an overhaul of a system known as “cross-check” that protects elite users from Facebook content rules.
“While Meta has told the board that the cross-check aims to improve Meta’s human rights commitments, we find that the program appears to be more directly structured to satisfy business concerns,” the panel said in a report.
“By providing additional protection to some users chosen by the majority according to business interests, the cross-check allows content that would otherwise be removed immediately to remain for a longer period of time, which can be harmful.”
The cross-check was implemented in a way that did not meet Meta’s human rights responsibilities, according to the board.
Meta told the board that the program is intended to provide an additional layer of human review of posts by high-profile users that initially appear to violate the rules, the report indicated.
That results in posts being immediately removed that are left in a review process that can take days or months, according to the report.
“This means that, due to the cross-check, content identified as violating the Meta rules will be left on Facebook and Instagram if it is too viral and could cause harm,” the board said.
Meta also failed to determine whether the process resulted in more accurate decisions about content removal, the board said.
The cross-check was flawed in “key areas,” including user equality and transparency, the board concluded, recommending 32 changes to the system.
Content identified as violating Meta’s rules with “high severity” in an initial review “should be removed or hidden while further review takes place,” the board said.
“Such content should not be allowed to remain on the views-aggregating platform simply because the person who posted it is a business partner or celebrity.”
The Oversight Board said they were aware of the cross-check in 2021, while watching and ultimately endorsing Facebook’s decision to suspend former US president Donald Trump.
In a statement today, Facebook’s vice president for Global Affairs Nick Clegg said the company agreed with the board to review its recommendations and respond within 90 days.
He said last year, Facebook made improvements to the process, including expanding eligibility for cross-check reviews while also implementing more controls on how users are added to the system.
“We built the cross-check system to prevent potential over-enforcement … and to double-check cases where there is a higher risk of an error or when the potential impact of an error is greater serious,” such as journalistic reporting from conflict zones, Clegg said. — AFP