Today’s bombshell report in @WSJ [@JeffHorwitz] that Facebook allowed at least 5.8m VIP users to be exempt from its TOS enforcement is yet another example of Facebook’s complete failure to responsibly moderate content or oversee its own platforms. /1…
The WSJ reporting outlines how Facebook "whitelists" or gives preferential treatment to VIP Facebook users making them (at times) exempt to immune from standard content moderation practices and terms of service guidelines. The list of VIP users is called "XCheck." /2
Those whitelisted included political figures such as the former President and his son, Candace Owens, Senator Elizabeth Warren, as well as athletes like Neymar and Mark Zuckerberg himself. /3
WSJ: Neymar was allowed to post "revenge porn" on his Facebook account after a woman accused him of rape. Facebook content moderators were blocked from intervening and the post racked up 56 million views before it was taken down. Neymar's account faced no consequences. /4
In June 2020, Trump's "looting and shooting" Facebook post that company executives decided to leave up was judged to have scored a 90 out of 100, "indicating a high likelihood it violated the platform’s rules." /5
One major issue: Government officials, typically incumbents, who enjoyed "XCheck" status were exempt from certain Facebook moderation standards while their challengers (non-incumbents) were not whitelisted. It grants incumbents an advantage. /6
The report also outlines how simple it was for employees to add to the XCheck list with little reason. Eligibility qualifications for the list included users who might be a "PR risk" to the company and were given preferential treatment simply because they were that. /7
Worse yet, Facebook knew that the XCheck system was problematic for the company. It posed legal, compliance, and legitimacy risks according to a 2019 internal audit. Yet the XCheck list continued to be used through the 2020 election. /8
Facebook also misled its own Oversight Board over its enforcement systems showing exactly how ineffective the body is. If it can't be expected to be honest with its own Oversight Board, what's the point of the Oversight Board and how can the public trust it? /9
This weak statement from the Oversight Board does not outline any steps to show how Facebook is going to win the trust of the Oversight Board nor how the Oversight Board is actually going to finally provide adequate oversight over Facebook. /10
This story demonstrates that the only thing to get Facebook even recognize problems is public pressure. That's why RFOB was formed and that's why we are shining a light on @JeffHorwitz's fantastic reporting. The company simply doesn't respond to anything else. /11
It began with Cambridge Analytica, it was apparent in the former President's "looting and shooting" post, it's clear with Facebook's treatment of NYU researchers, it is exemplified in its lack of action during Jan 6th, and it's brought us to this WSJ report. Public pressure. /12
Read our statement here. /13…

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More from @FBoversight

28 Jul
🚨BREAKING🚨 Disinformation on Facebook kills.

Ahead of Facebook's quarterly earnings, RFOB releases its "Facebook Quarterly Harms Report" for Q2. This report documents Facebook's harms around COVID-19, and human life, and democracy.

Read the report ⬇️…
A Real Facebook Oversight Board analysis from 2021 Q2 data found that a majority of the “Number One posts” (most engagement on Facebook for that day) originated from just five known ‘disinformation superspreaders’.
RFOB, in our report, also identified those five known “disinformation superspreaders.”
These superspreaders are serial disinformation offenders yet their posts rank “Number 1” frequently, per our analysis.
Read 11 tweets
27 Jul
Brilliant exclusive by @eculliford via @Reuters
Another case of private Big Tech replacing a public function?
A treasure of info crucial for our safety
Read 5 tweets
26 Jul
"Months before the megachurch Hillsong opened its new outpost in Atlanta, its pastor sought advice on how to build a church in a pandemic.
From Facebook."
@elizabethjdias via @nytimes on FB's next business goal: shaping the future of religious experience.
The irony is not lost on us Image
Religion as a new marketing (and data harvesting) opportunity Image
Read 4 tweets
4 May
NEW: Facebook’s self-funded Oversight Board will announce tomorrow whether Trump stays or goes. There will be an 🧨explosion 🧨 of headlines. *Which is exactly what Facebook wants*

It wins if he stays. It wins if he goes.
Imagine Phillip Morris set up the Independent Tobacco Oversight Board in the 80s. Then imagine it deliberated for 3 months over whether to sell cigarettes to kids. This is no different. It’s Facebook distracting attention from its own version of its cancer-causing chemicals.
*Of course* Donald Trump should be permanently banned from Facebook! This is the no brainer of no brainers. He's violated Facebook’s terms of services repeatedly, incited hate & violence & super spreads disinfo. End of.
Read 12 tweets
3 May
The @OversightBoard is "a distraction from Facebook more fundamental failings" Image
The worrying theater around the @OversightBoard's decision... Image
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
"Facebook approves alcohol, vaping, gambling and dating ads targeting teens, lobby group finds" by Conor Duffy for @abcnews…
@abcnews "What we found was there was no difference in the way they were treating teenager's data," Reset Australia executive director Chris Cooper said.
@abcnews "It enabled advertisers to buy access to those profiles and target teenagers around very questionable interest areas such as gambling, smoking, alcohol and even their dating status."
Read 5 tweets

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