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Meta proposed to remove privileges for popular users and make moderation the same for everyone.

Published: 2022-12-07

The supervisory board of Meta Platforms (which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) has recommended that the company update its moderation policy and remove privileged positions for users with large followings that allow them not to abide by general social media rules.

The practice, dubbed "cross-checking," provides for a special moderation procedure for several million Facebook and Instagram accounts belonging to celebrities, politicians and other influential users. As a result, they get additional discretion when publishing content, violating the company's policies that apply to ordinary users. And business interests, in fact, influence decision-making regarding content.

The supervisory board became interested in the "cross-checking" program last year, when whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen revealed its true scope to the public. The scale of the program was practically uncontrolled, as a result of which almost all authors with a significant number of subscribers fell under its action - even with millions of "chosen" ones, a tiny number of the 3.7 billion users of the Meta platforms turned out to be.

In 2019, for example, the system prevented moderators from removing nudity posted by Brazilian football star Neymar, even though the post directly violated company policy. The supervisory board chided the company's management for not being "totally candid" in disclosing the "cross-checking" information. Thirty-two recommendations were made to help build the program more evenly, including requirements for transparency, mechanisms for auditing the effectiveness of the system, and a uniform approach to the acceptability of certain materials. Representatives of the authorities were also offered to be included in the program on a general basis, without giving them any preferences.

The recommendations of the supervisory board are not binding on Meta's management, but they are required to respond to them within 60 days. On the issue of “cross-checks”, an additional deadline was requested - a response will be given within 90 days.