A program at Facebook dubbed “XCheck” has allowed high-profile users to essentially avoid the moderation process and publish posts that defy the company’s rules, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The program—which eventually involved some 5.8 million users by 2020—“was initially intended as a quality-control measure” for when high-profile users’ accounts are flagged. But most of the posts were simply never reviewed. The “whitelist” directory consists of “high-profile accounts, including celebrities, politicians, and journalists” or anyone with a substantial following and influence, according to the Journal.
A 2019 Facebook internal review of the XCheck program explicitly states that “unlike the rest of our community, [members of the Whitelist] can violate our standards without any consequences.” “The problem is pervasive, touching almost every area of the company,” said the 2019 review, adding that the ‘Whitelist’ yields “numerous legal, compliance, and legitimacy risks” for the embattled social network.
In a statement to the Journal, Facebook said the company had “identified the issues with cross check and has been working to address them.”