Facebook watchdog decries lack of transparency

Facebook's independent oversight board is not happy with the social media giant, saying it was not "fully forthcoming" about how it makes content decisions, and demanding more transparency.

A report issued Thursday said Facebook withheld information from the very oversight body it had created to ensure accountability.

The comments follow a Wall Street Journal report last month that said millions of Facebook accounts belonging to celebrities, politicians and other high-profile users were exempted from some internal checks.

And it comes in the wake of whistleblower allegations that Facebook has long been aware of harmful content on its platforms, but prioritized profit over users' health and safety.

The oversight board on Thursday accused Facebook of failing to be transparent with the company's 'cross-check' system, which the site uses to "review content decisions relating to high-profile users."

The board said that when it ruled back in May to uphold the indefinite suspension of former U.S. President Donald Trump after the Jan 6. riot, Facebook did not mention the cross-check program until asked.

The board wrote, "this omission is not acceptable."

A company spokesperson said the board's work had been "impactful," and has asked to review the cross-check system.

Facebook created the board mainly to address criticism over how it handles problematic content.

In its first quarterly report, the board said over half a million Facebook and Instagram users submitted appeals between October 2020 and the end of June 2021, of which more than a third were related to content concerning Facebook's rules on hate speech.

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