The Social Spiral Goes On

The human tendency to be highly analytical is a controversial trait in its own right. Over the years, we have seen this trait popping up in a variety of contexts, and not every time it has led to a positive result. There are a fair few examples where our knack of dissecting all the elements has ended up costing us dearly. Nevertheless, all those lost opportunities weren’t enough to convince us of throwing caution to the wind. Instead, we have allowed our watchful nature to translate into full-fledged governing bodies that ensure we remain as much protected from every risk as possible, but this approach, in turn, caused a whole another dilemma. You see, like every other industry, the regulatory sector also had to form a concrete stance on technology, and the clash in their ideologies meant that the companies would be getting a headstart over the very authorities that were supposed to govern them. This, as you can imagine, created a perfect environment for unethical activities to take place on a large scale, but with regulators fortunately closing in now, things are expected to change. The pressure on different industries seems to be growing by the day, and one organization that can testify for it better than anyone else is Facebook.

After landing in hot waters for its anti-privacy methodologies, Facebook has once again hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The latest reasons, however, include Facebook’s own oversight board accusing the company of being biased with their content moderation policies. According to the oversight board, the tech-giant has consistently failed to explain its “Cross-check” feature, which shields millions of VIP users from getting the same treatment as any other user would get upon posting something that goes against the community guidelines.

In its official report, the board mentioned that the company “has not been fully forthcoming on Cross-Check. On some occasions, Facebook failed to provide relevant information to the board, while in other instances, the information it did provide was incomplete.”

These revelations come after the Wall Street Journal used some internal reports from Facebook last month to validate a sensational claim that the platform was actively protecting certain individuals from the usual enforcement rules. As confirmed later on, it was being done through a cross-check program, which had over 5.8 million users under its umbrella by 2020.

“At times, the documents show, [Cross-Check] has protected public figures whose posts contain harassment or incitement to violence, violations that would typically lead to sanctions for regular users,” wrote the Wall Street Journal.

In response to the oversight board voicing its dissatisfaction, Facebook has now asked the board to review the Cross-Check program and make necessary recommendations. The company has also assured that it will be more open with its explanations in the future.


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