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HomeEntertainment NewsHow Facebook's 'Elite Whitelist' Turned Into A Monster

How Facebook’s ‘Elite Whitelist’ Turned Into A Monster

Facebook reportedly has a “whitelist” of 5.8 million users who are not penalized for posting material that violates the company’s terms of usage.


Facebook reportedly violates its own stance on fake news, misinformation, and revenge porn by allowing certain whitelisted users to get away with posting rule-violating material in spite of public assurances that it treats its three billion users equally. Facebook is no stranger to controversies, and the latest report is a huge accusation against the world’s largest social media company, which spends much of its time either defending its privacy practices, answering questions about data breaches, or denying allegations of not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation, especially related to politics and Covid.

Misinformation has been an increasing problem on most social platforms, but many observers allege that it thrives on Facebook, largely because of the company’s inability or unwillingness to tackle the problem head-on. Multiple studies by reputable institutions have reiterated this point, including one by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which last year revealed that misinformation on the platform has gotten substantially worse since the 2016 Presidential election. Facebook claims it is continuing its fight against fake news and propaganda on the platform, but no matter what the company does, the problems keeps getting worse with every passing year.

Related: How & Why Facebook Is Penalizing Users Who Share Misinformation

The latest report comes from The Wall Street Journal, which claims to have reviewed internal company documents that reveal Facebook has a program called ‘XCheck’ (read ‘cross check’) that was originally intended as a quality-control measure for actions taken against high-profile accounts of politicians, celebrities, and journalists. While that seems like a good enough idea, it has since devolved into a shady list of over 5.8 million so-called VIP users who are allowed to get away with posting content that is in direct violation of the company’s terms and conditions. The list also reportedly includes many “whitelisted” users who are practically immune to enforcement actions from the company.

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The documents also reportedly show that the program has actively protected public figures, celebrities, and politicians even when their posts amounted to harassment or incitement of violence. As per the report, many such posts would have resulted in immediate punitive action in the case of regular users, but these elite users were let off with merely a slap on the wrist, if any action was taken at all. In fact, the confidential internal review clearly stated that the company was “not actually doing what we say we do publicly.” What’s more, it went on to call the company’s action “a breach of trust” and admitted that people on the whitelist are being allowed to violate Facebook’s standards with impunity.

One of the notable cases of preferential treatment apparently relates to Brazilian soccer star Neymar, with the report claiming that the company did not act against him in 2019 after he posted nude photos and videos of a woman who had accused him of rape. The video, which the athlete claimed proved his innocence, was not deleted by Facebook for more than a day and was seen by more than 56 million Facebook and Instagram users in clear violation of the company’s revenge porn rules. Many of these whitelisted accounts also reportedly shared fake news that the company’s own fact checkers deemed false, including vaccine misinformation, as well as debunked propaganda against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and other leading politicians.

Next: Facebook, Twitter & Google Fight COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation

Source: WSJ

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