Meta agreed to change the VIP ‘cross-check’ program but would not reveal who was in it

Meta has several recommendations from the Oversight Board regarding the controversial cross-check program, which protects high-profile users from the company’s automated content moderation system. In its response, Meta agreed to adopt many of the board’s proposals, but refused to implement changes that would increase the transparency of who is in the program.

Meta’s response comes after the board slammed the program for prioritizing “business concerns” over human rights. While the company described the program as a “second layer of review” to help it avoid errors, the Oversight Board noted that cross-check cases were often backlogged with malicious content taking too long. than otherwise.

In total, Meta agreed to adopt 26 of the 32 recommendations at least partially. These include changes to how cross-check cases are handled within the company, as well as promises to disclose more information to the Oversight Board about the program. The company also promised to reduce the backlog of cases.

But, in particular, Meta refused to take the Oversight Board on its recommendation to publicly disclose politicians, state actors, businesses and other public figures who benefit from cross-check protections. The company said that public disclosure of details about the program “could lead to many unintended consequences that make it unworkable and unsustainable” and said it would open cross-check to be “game( d)” of bad actors.

Likewise, the company declined, or did not commit, to recommendations that would have alerted people that they were being cross-checked. Meta rejected a recommendation that users who are part of the cross-check make “additional, clear, commitments” to follow the company’s rules. And Meta says it’s “assessing the possibility” of a recommendation it allows people to make opt out to cross-check (which, naturally, will inform them that they are part of the program). “We will work with our Human Rights and Civil Rights teams to explore options to address this issue, in an effort to improve user autonomy regarding cross-checking,” the company wrote.

While Meta’s response indicates that the company is willing to make changes to one of its many programs, it also highlights the company’s reluctance to make key details about the cross-check public. That’s also consistent with previous criticism from the Oversight Board, which last year the company was not “fully forthcoming” about cross-checking.

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