The Oversight Board, a semi-independent physique that evaluations Fb’s moderation insurance policies, announced on Tuesday that it needs extra details about the “cross-check” system Fb makes use of to “review content decisions relating to some high-profile users.” Cross-check is getting known as into query due to a report from The Wall Street Journal that claimed the system lets high-profile customers break the principles.

“In light of recent developments, we are looking into the degree to which Facebook has been fully forthcoming in its responses in relation to cross-check, including the practice of whitelisting,” the board writes. “We expect to receive a briefing from Facebook in the coming days and will be reporting what we hear from this as part of our first release of quarterly transparency reports, which we will publish in October.”

Cross-check (generally known as XCheck) is meant so as to add an additional stage of scrutiny to high-profile moderation calls that might trigger controversy for Fb. However the Journal claims it lined an enormous swathe of 5.8 million individuals in 2020, and solely 10 p.c of the posts despatched to this system obtained reviewed by Fb’s second layer of specialised moderators. Based on the report, customers included in this system embody Senator Elizabeth Warren, conservative commentator Candace Owens, and former President Donald Trump.

Trump’s relative safety by way of cross-check got here up in the board’s decision to uphold the previous President’s Fb ban. On the time, the board famous that there’s restricted public details about cross-check evaluations — a 2018 blog post is among the most up-to-date. It suggested the corporate to “clearly explain the rationale, standards, and processes of review, including the criteria to determine which pages and accounts are selected for inclusion.”

As with all Oversight Board actions, Fb permits itself some flexibility in tips on how to reply. The corporate has publicly dedicated to following the group’s calls on particular person moderation selections however reserves the best to not comply with broader suggestions. It’s additionally not legally sure to comply with the board’s guidelines. With right now’s announcement and renewed stress to make clear a program with points Fb’s already working to deal with, perhaps we’ll lastly study extra in regards to the controversial program.


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