Mark Zuckerberg has often stated that Facebook allows all its users to receive the same treatment, but the inability to efficiently administer a platform with three billion subscribers has repeatedly shown that this is not the case. To all this is added the recent discovery by the Wall Street Journal of a system that places a small circle of particularly famous users above certain rules.
The program is called XCheck and, as you can understand from the name, it was initially conceived as a system of cross-checks to protect the accounts of people more or less in sight such as journalists, politicians and various celebrities, from the inevitable greater attention they can receive. from the rest of the members. In many cases, in fact, it is enough to coordinate for a mass report to obscure, even if only temporarily, a personal account or a page that simply writes something we do not like, but with XCheck this problem does not affect who is under its system of protection and verifications.
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This is because, when the post of a person inserted in it is reported, it is not automatically obscured, and then possibly restored after a complaint, but sent to a group of people in charge of evaluating it and deciding what to do. Meanwhile, the number of people on this list is increasing day by day. At the moment we are talking about about 6 million, which represent more or less 0.2% of subscribers.
The problem arises when the protection system not only prevents an unnecessary ban caused by an overzealous algorithm, the same one that can affect those who satirize Nazism by showing a swastika, but also allows some privileged people to carry out absolutely wrong actions. One of the cases cited concerns, for example, Neymar, who in 2019 published photos of a naked girl after she accused him of rape, exposing her to the pillory of his millions of followers. But there are also verified public figures who have spread fake news about vaccines or political opponents from all sides, not to mention openly racist positions.
And if it normally takes a few minutes for a fake, intimidating or defamatory post to do damage, we can imagine how amplified this is by the fact that it takes longer to remove one of the members of this special list.
Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook, denied that XCheck represents a system of privileges and stressed that it often proved useful precisely to protect freedom of expression. Stone also said the company is doing what it can to improve it, not least as more and more rumors confirm how aware it is of the negative effects surrounding Facebook and other platforms.
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