Facebook is poised to reform its controversial cross-check program — but only parts of it

Meta has agreed to change Facebook and Instagram’s cross-check program, which exempts high-profile users from the company’s automated moderation system. In an updated blog post published on Friday, the company shared its response to the oversight body’s recommendations, saying it would make the cross-checking system “more transparent through regular reporting” and streamline the criteria by which it adds people to the program. to take better account of human rights interests and justice.”

The Oversight Board, or the “independent body” that reviews Meta’s content moderation decisions, made a total of 32 recommendations last December on how Meta can improve its cross-checking program. Meta has chosen to fully implement 11 of these recommendations and partially adopt 15.

Facebook and Instagram’s cross-check scheme came under fire after a 2021 report The Wall Street Journal revealed that Meta used it to protect politicians, celebrities and popular athletes from its automated moderation system. According to Meta, the system allows the company to apply “additional layers of human verification” to posts shared by high-profile personalities to avoid being mistakenly removed.

The oversight board criticized the program, saying it “appears to be structured more directly to address business concerns” rather than as a way to further the company’s “human rights obligations,” as it had previously claimed. As part of its response, Meta agreed to implement recommendations that require it to take immediate action on verified content that “has been identified as potentially serious violations.” It’s also committed to reducing the backlog of the cross-check program, an issue the Oversight Board has found could be causing malicious content to stay online longer than it should.

However, Meta is still “evaluating the feasibility” of a rule that would allow numbers to opt out of the cross-check program and doesn’t go through with five recommendations, including a suggestion that some of the numbers they benefit from “mark publicly”. the program. It also rejected the Oversight Board’s recommendation to inform users that it might take longer for Meta to take action if they report a post made by someone in the cross-check program. You can read the full list of recommendations and Meta’s response to them here.

While the oversight board dubbed Meta’s response a “milestone moment.” in a thread on Twitter, she is not entirely satisfied with the company’s willingness to change. “Some aspects of Meta’s response did not go as far as we recommended in order to achieve a more transparent and equitable system,” writes the Oversight Board. “Meta rejected the board’s suggestion that deserving users should be able to request the protection granted by cross-checking… We will continue to respond to Meta’s specific responses over the coming days and weeks.”

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