The Daily Telegraph

Celebritie­s who break rules on Facebook ‘get away with it’

- By David Millward US Correspond­ent

MILLIONS of celebrity Facebook users are being exempted from its rules monitoring content, it has been claimed.

The Wall Street Journal alleges VIP users are being protected under an internal programme known as “Cross Check”.

Beneficiar­ies have included Donald Trump before he was suspended for two years, and top footballer Neymar.

Postings deemed as inflammato­ry by ordinary users are deleted almost instantly thanks to Facebook’s algorithms. But those put up by an estimated 5.8 million “VIPS” are treated differentl­y and subject to further review.

Last year, Cross Check allowed posts that violated its rules to be viewed at least 16.4 billion times, before later being removed, according to a summary of the programme in late December.

One of the highest-profile cases involved Mr Trump who, following the death of George Floyd, wrote on Facebook: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Had the posting been left to Facebook’s automatic algorithm, it would have been swiftly deleted following a complaint, but in this case, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, decided not to remove the posting.

Neymar, the Brazilian star who plays for Paris Saint-germain, was able to post nude photograph­s on Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram, of a woman who had accused him of rape.

A spokesman for Neymar said the athlete adheres to Facebook’s rules.

Facebook’s Andy Stone defended the system, saying: “Cross Check simply means that some content from certain Pages or Profiles is given a second layer of review to make sure we’ve applied our policies correctly. There aren’t two systems of justice; it’s an attempted safeguard against mistakes.”

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