Meta agreed to change Facebook and Instagram’s cross-check program, which exempts high-profile users from the company’s automated moderation system. In an updated blog post published on Friday, the company shared its response to the Oversight Board’s recommendations, stating that it will make the cross-check system “more transparent through regular reporting” as well tweaking the criteria it uses to add people to the program “to better account for human rights interests and fairness.”
The Oversight Board, or the “independent body” that reviews Meta’s content moderation decisions, made a total of 32 recommendations on how Meta could improve its cross-check program in December. Meta chose to fully implement 11 of the recommendations, while adopting part of 15.
Facebook and Instagram’s cross-check program came under fire after a 2021 report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that Meta uses it to protect politicians, celebrities, and famous athletes from its automated moderation system. According to Meta, the system allows the company to apply “an additional level of human vetting” to posts shared by high-profile figures in an attempt to prevent them from being mistakenly deleted.
The Oversight Board criticized the program, saying it “appears to be a more direct structure to satisfy business concerns” than a way to uphold the company’s “human rights commitments” as it has previously claimed. As part of its response, Meta agreed to implement recommendations requiring it to act immediately on reviewed content “identified as potentially serious infringement.” It also committed to reducing the backlog in the cross-check program, an issue the Oversight Board found could cause harmful content to stay online longer than necessary.
However, Meta is still “evaluating the possibility” of a rule that would allow numbers to opt out of the cross-check program, and did not go through five recommendations, including a proposal that ” public mark” some of the figures benefited from. the program. It also rejected the Oversight Board’s recommendation to notify users that it may take time for Meta to act if they report a post from someone in the cross-check program. You can read the full list of Meta’s recommendations and responses to each one here.
While the Oversight Board called Meta’s response a “landmark moment” in a Twitter thread, it is not completely satisfied with the changes that the company is willing to make. “Many aspects of Meta’s response are not up to the point we recommend to achieve a more transparent and fair system,” the Oversight Board wrote. “Meta rejects the Board’s proposal that eligible users be able to apply for the protections afforded by cross-check… We will continue to respond to Meta’s specific responses in the coming days and week.”