Bulletins

Facebook asks Oversight Board for guidance on its VIP program

"We know the system isn't perfect."

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Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook is calling on its Oversight Board to issue policy recommendations about its cross-check system, a controversial program The Wall Street Journal recently described as creating a two-tiered system of enforcement on Facebook, where high-profile users often receive more lenient treatment for content violations. Facebook's request to the Board comes a week after the Board announced its intention to question the company about the program and "inconsistencies in [Facebook's] decision making."


Facebook's vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a company blog post Tuesday the cross-check program was "built to prevent potential over-enforcement mistakes and to double-check cases where, for example, a decision could require more understanding or there could be a higher risk for a mistake."

"We know the system isn't perfect," Clegg wrote. "We have new teams and resources in place, and we are continuing to make improvements. But more are needed."

In a statement to Protocol, the Board's head of communications Dex Hunter-Torricke said the Board would consider the request through its "usual process."

"Facebook must embrace clear rules which are enforced consistently and give users confidence they will be treated fairly," he said. "We will be engaging with diverse civil society leaders, researchers and other voices as we work to scrutinize these crucial issues."

This is only one of the ways Facebook has signaled it's open to making changes in response to the Journal's Facebook Files project. The company also announced this week that Instagram would be pausing its plan to launch a version of the app for kids, after the Journal reported that the company's own research suggests Instagram is "toxic" for teens with body image issues.

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