Former President Donald Trump has attacked Facebook for ‘secretly protecting its ‘elite’ users after a recent report uncovered a program that allows celebrities and powerful people to skirt the social network’s own rules.
Trump, who was banned from the social network earlier this year, branded Facebook ‘corrupt’ for protecting celebrities and VIPs from its rules – even though the list of elite users includes his son Donald Trump Jr.
The list also includes Brazilian soccer star Neymar, Senator Elizabeth Warren, model Sunnaya Nash, and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself.
Through a system referred to as ‘cross check’ or ‘XCheck,’ 5.8 million VIP users on Facebook are being excused from some or all of the site’s policies, according to the scathing new report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal.
According to the report, the program was initially designed to protect the company from bad publicity in the event that it moderated content from some of the more high-profile users.
Instead, critics say that it has shielded those same users from the rules that apply to the general public.
Former President Donald Trump is attacking Facebook for ‘secretly protecting its so-called ‘Elite,’ after a recent report uncovered a group of 5.8 million users to skirt the social network’s own rules
Although Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated the platform holds all users accountable for violating its rules and regulations, Monday’s report tells a different story
Trump, who is suing the platform after it permanently banned him following the January 6 riots on the U.S. Capitol, branded Facebook hypocritical.
‘So now it’s determined in a major Wall Street Journal article that Facebook is secretly protecting its so-called ‘Elite,’ making them exempt from rules,’ Trump said in a statement. ‘Facebook and Big Tech are so corrupt (‘unlocked boxes,’ etc.), this should help my lawsuit against Big Tech, and those people who hate America.’
Although Zuckerberg stated the platform holds all users accountable for violating its rules and regulations, Monday’s report tells a different story.
For example, the XCheck system permitted international soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior to publish a post that included a nude photo and name of a woman who accused him of rape.
Following the post, Neymar’s account was ‘whitelisted,’ which restricted moderators from deleting the post.
According to Facebook’s policy, users who post unauthorized nude photos should automatically have their accounts deleted. Instead, Neymar was allowed to keep his account after a review.
Neymar has denied the rape allegation and accused the woman of attempting to extort him. No charges have been filed.
The ‘XCheck’ system permitted international soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior to publish a post that included a nude photo and name of a woman who accused him of rape.
Najila Trindade Mendes de Souza, accused Neymar of rape and sexual assault at a Paris hotel in 2019. Neymar, who was never charged, has denied the allegation
The woman who made the allegation was charged with slander, extortion, and fraud by Brazilian authorities. The first two charges were dropped, and she was acquitted of the third.
In June 2020, while Trump was still president, he published a post that read ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts.’
An automated system decided the post most likely violated the platforms rules, usually forcing it to be removed after one person reported the post. But because of the XCheck program, Trump’s post remained online, with Zuckerberg later revealing he decided not to delete it.
Up until his suspension earlier this year, Trump was a part of the XCheck system.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is among the VIPs protected by the program, according to The Wall Street Journal
In 2019, Facebook knew this practice was not ‘publicly defensible,’ the report revealed, citing an internal review of the whitelisting practices.
‘We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly,’ the review reportedly said, calling Facebook’s actions ‘a breach of trust.’
‘Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.’
In 2020, XCheck included at least 5.8 million high profiled users including Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Candace Owens, Zuckerberg, and Doug the Pug.
Last year, ‘XCheck’ allowed posts that violated Facebook guidelines to be viewed at least 16.4 billion times before they were finally removed, according to a document obtained by the Journal.
When speaking to the WSJ, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the system ‘was designed for an important reason: to create an additional step so we can accurately enforce policies on content that could require more understanding.’
Stone said the company is in the process of phasing out its’ whitelisting’ policies as it relates to ‘XCheck.’
‘A lot of this internal material is outdated information stitched together to create a narrative that glosses over the most important point: Facebook itself identified the issues with cross check and has been working to address them,’ he said.
The Journal interviewed dozens of current and former Facebook employees who say the company is aware of the flaws on its platform and the harm they cause but is either unwilling or unable to address them.
One person who is seeking federal whistleblower protection has turned over the documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as to Congress.