Meta was harshly criticized by an internal board of trustees on Tuesday for policies that give celebrities, politicians and business associates special treatment compared to the vast majority of Facebook and Instagram users.
People with large followings have been able to say and share things on Facebook and Instagram that would otherwise be swiftly removed for violating company policies, according to the Oversight Board, which the company created to review thorny free speech policy issues . human rights and content moderation.
A program called cross-check ensured that high-profile users received additional review from a human moderator before their posts were removed for violating Meta’s terms of service. In a report, the board of trustees criticized Meta for a lack of transparency about the program, which the board said offered “unequal treatment” to the most influential and powerful users of Facebook and Instagram at the expense of human rights and corporate values. Meta took seven months to reach a final decision on a piece of content posted by an account in the cross-checking program, the report said.
“The board is concerned about how Meta has prioritized business interests when moderating content,” the report said. The program, it said, “provides additional protection for the expression of certain users.”
The board began investigating the cross-checking program last year after its existence was reported by The Wall Street Journal and a whistleblower, Frances Haugen.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s vice president of global affairs, said on Tuesday that the cross-checking system was created to prevent falsely deleted messages from having an undue impact. He said the company would respond to the board’s report within 90 days.