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Oversight Board finds Meta puts business over people

Surprise! Meta cares more about money than it does its users.

meta and facebook logo on grey background
Image: Unsplash

Meta’s Oversight Board has found that the company’s moderation policies prioritize the business over the rights of its users. Shocking, right?

Meta requested that its Oversight Board investigate the company’s cross-check rules more than a year ago. The Board finally published its assessment earlier this week.

Cross-check is a moderation policy at Facebook and Instagram that separates certain high-profile figures from the platforms’ automated moderation systems.

The company told the Oversight Board that the goal of its cross-check program is to advance its human rights commitments. But it turns out the real goal is to prioritize its business concerns.

“In our review, we found several shortcomings in Meta’s cross-check program. While Meta told the Board that cross-check aims to advance Meta’s human rights commitments, we found that the program appears more directly structured to satisfy business concerns.” reads a statement from the Oversight Board’s assessment.

The Oversight Board found several key flaws in Meta’s cross-check program. The most obvious flaw in the system was that it created unequal treatment for users on the platform.

The Board found that Meta failed to track many core metrics relating to cross-check. It also lacked transparency about how the system actually functions.

As a result of its findings, the Oversight Board issues several recommendations to Meta to change the cross-check system.

It sent 32 recommendations overall, including improving transparency, focusing on human rights, and reducing harmful content posted by public figures.

Meta now has 30 days to respond to the Board’s recommendations, though none are binding.

The company isn’t required to change anything, and I’d be surprised if the Oversight Board’s assessment has any real bearing on Meta’s cross-check moderation policy.

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