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Facebook kept information on XCheck from its own Oversight Board

Facebook kept information on XCheck from its own Oversight Board
Photo Credit: Reuters
21 Oct, 2021

Social media giant Facebook’s Oversight Board has accused the platform of keeping the Board in the dark about its controversial XCheck moderation system. The XCheck platform is used to apply moderation rules to celebrities and VIPs on Facebook’s platform, and it came into focus after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents to the media. The social media giant has denied allegations made in reports coming from the documents.

“Today’s reports conclude that Facebook has not been fully forthcoming with the Board on its ‘cross-check’ system, which the company uses to review content decisions relating to high-profile users,” the Board said in its own Transparency Report. The Board had earlier said it will review the XCheck system and that Facebook has agreed to share documents related to the system with the Board.

The Oversight Board, dubbed the Supreme Court for Facebook by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, came into being last year. It consists of human rights experts, academics, nobel laureates and others who have played key roles in areas of freedom of expression and human rights. While the Board was appointed by Facebook, the company set up a Trust for the Board to operate independently.

In its Transparency Report, the Board also noted that “Facebook is answering most of the Board’s questions, but not all of them”. It said that of the 156 questions sent to Facebook till the end of June this year, the social media giant answered 130 of them completely, declined to answer 14 and partially answered 14 of the questions.

“By asking specific questions and including the details in our final decision, we hope to provide users and researchers with as much information as possible about how the company works,” the Board said. It added that the company declined to answer “several instances” about an user’s previous behaviour on the platform, claiming it was irrelevant to the Board’s decision making.