Facebook had a problem on its hands. People were posting things to their accounts that would get caught in the company’s automated moderation system or taken down by its human moderators. The problem wasn’t that the moderators, human or otherwise, were wrong to take down the posts. No, the problem was the people behind the posts were famous or noteworthy and the company didn’t want a PR mess on its hands.
So Facebook came up with a program called XCheck, or cross check, which in many instances became a de facto whitelist that, over the years, has allowed celebrities, politicians, athletes, activists, journalists, and even animal influencers like “Doug the Pug” to post whatever they want with few to no consequences for violating the company’s rules.
“For a select few members of our community, we are not enforcing our policies and standards,” reads an internal Facebook report published as part of a Wall Street Journal investigation. “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”
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