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Sunday, Sep 19, 2021

Facebook denies having '2 systems of justice' for users after scathing WSJ report

Facebook denies having '2 systems of justice' for users after scathing WSJ report

The WSJ report says Facebook gives preferential treatment to millions of high-profile users

Facebook has responded to a blistering Wall Street Journal report claiming the social media giant gives millions of elites special treatment when it comes to removing content that violates the network's rules.

While the company denies having "two systems of justice," it admits there is room for improvement when it comes to the enforcement of its own policies.



The Journal obtained internal documents detailing Facebook's own assessment of its XCheck policy, which reportedly grants favoritism to more than 5.8 million high-profile users such as celebrities, politicians, and certain organizations. Those "whitelisted" accounts not only get a second review whenever their posts are flagged for a violation, according to the newspaper, but are granted a certain level of immunity from punishment.

One internal review said of XCheck members, "Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences."

In response to the report, Facebook said its XCheck program is no secret, but admitted it is imperfect.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone took to Twitter to react to the Journal's story, first pointing to a blog post from 2018 where Facebook defended itself against another critical report on its policing. That post admits Facebook grants a "cross-check" to high-profile accounts like those of celebrities.

"As we said in 2018: ‘Cross-check’ simply means that some content from certain Pages or Profiles is given a second layer of review to make sure we’ve applied our policies correctly," Stone wrote, citing the earlier post before claiming, "There aren’t two systems of justice; it’s an attempted safeguard against mistakes."

"In the end, at the center of this story is Facebook's own analysis that we need to improve the program," Stone went on to say. "We know our enforcement is not perfect and there are tradeoffs between speed and accuracy."

He concluded, "The WSJ piece repeatedly cites Facebook's own documents pointing to the need for changes that are in fact already underway at the company. We have new teams, new resources and an overhaul of the process that is an existing work-stream at Facebook."

When reached by FOX Business, Stone declined to share what changes to Facebook's XCheck program are being considered.

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