Meta has agreed to tweak Facebook and Instagram’s cross-checking program, exempting high-profile users from the company’s automated moderation system. In an updated blog post published Fridaythe company shared its response to the Oversight Board’s recommendations, stating that it will make the cross-checking system “more transparent through regular reporting” and adjust the criteria it uses to add people to the program “to better reflect human rights interests and equity.”
The Oversight Board, or the “independent body” that reviews Meta’s content moderation decisions, made a total of 32 recommendations in December about how Meta can improve its cross-checking program. Meta has chosen to fully implement 11 of those recommendations and partially adopt 15.
Facebook and Instagram’s cross-checking program came under fire following a 2021 report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that Meta uses it to protect politicians, celebrities, and popular athletes from the automated moderation system. According to metathe system has the company apply “additional levels of human review” to posts shared by high-profile figures in an effort to prevent them from being mistakenly deleted.
The Oversight Board criticized the program, stating that it “seems structured more directly to address business concerns” rather than as a way to advance the company’s “human rights commitments” as it previously claimed. As part of its response, Meta agreed to implement recommendations requiring it to take immediate action on cross-checked content “identified as potentially grossly infringing.” It also promised to reduce the cross-check program backlog, an issue the Oversight Board found could cause malicious content to stay online longer than it should.
However, Meta is still “assessing the feasibility” of a rule that would allow grades to opt out of the cross-check program, and is not following through on five recommendations, including a suggestion to remove some of the grades benefiting from the program. It also rejected the Oversight Board’s recommendation to let users know that Meta may take longer to take action when they report a post from someone in the cross-check program. You can read the full list of recommendations and Meta’s response to each here.
While the Oversight Board calls Meta’s response a “landmark moment”. in a thread on Twitter, it is not completely satisfied with the changes the company wants to make. “Several aspects of Meta’s response have not gone as far as we recommended in order to achieve a more transparent and equitable system,” the Oversight Board writes. “Meta rejected the board’s suggestion that deserving users may request the protections afforded by cross-checking…We will continue to respond to Meta’s specific responses in the coming days and weeks.”