For years, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has insisted that the ground is level on his platform, and the company treats its nearly three billion users equally. But according to a new Wall Street Journal report, a secret Facebook program known as “X-Check” or “Cross-Check” has long allowed celebrities, politicians, and other high-profile accounts to avoid policies other users must follow.
A confidential, internal audit the outlet managed to obtain found that Cross-Check has permitted millions of famous users to post bullying, sexual material, hate speech, incitement to violence, and other banned content without censure. Some privileged users enjoy a totally hands-off approach while rule-violating posts from others are flagged for reviews that never come.
Originally, Cross-Check was intended to help Facebook avoid PR issues that might crop up from censoring or deplatforming famous users with an additional layer of review. In practice, the company’s researchers found it resulted in many high-profile accounts being “whitelisted.” These individuals could say