I’m Less Important to Facebook Than a Dog

Facebook has built a system that has exempted high-profile users from some or all of its rules, according to company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Known as “cross check” or “XCheck,” the program was initially intended as a quality-control measure for actions taken against high-profile accounts, including celebrities, politicians, and journalists. Today, it shields millions of VIP users from the company’s normal enforcement process, the documents show. Some users are “whitelisted”—rendered immune from enforcement actions—while others are allowed to post rule-violating material pending Facebook employee reviews that often never come.

Facebook designed the system to minimize what its employees have described in the documents as “PR fires”—negative media attention that comes from botched enforcement actions taken against VIPs. It appears as if just about any employee can add somebody to the XCheck system, and as of 2020, there were nearly six million people on the list.

For ordinary users, Facebook is often quite harsh in assessing whether posts meet the company’s rules against bullying, sexual content, hate speech, and incitement to violence. Sometimes the company’s automated systems summarily delete or bury content suspected of rule violations without a human review. At other times, material flagged by those systems or by users is assessed by content moderators employed by outside companies.

Apparently, Facebook’s claim that their platform puts all users on equal footing is not quite accurate.

Now I don’t mind not being on the XCheck list. I know I’m no Neymar or Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, Jr., all alleged members of the program. The program covers pretty much anyone regularly in the media or who has a substantial online following, including film stars, cable talk-show hosts, academics, and online personalities with large followings.

But Doug the Pug?

Yes, Doug the Pug, a dog with nearly six million followers, is on the XCheck list.

Now I’m not sure what kind of rule-violating material the people at Facebook are worried about that Doug the Pug might post.

  • pictures of nude dogs?
  • video of him strutting around a school with no mask on at a bring your pet to school event?
  • photos of him wearing a MAGA sweater?
  • video of him drinking out of a toilet?

Whatever it might be, Doug has more rights at Facebook than I do.

So now I know where I stand with Facebook. A dog is considered a VIP, and I am just part of the huddled masses.

I’m actually worried what might happen to my Facebook account when I share a link to this story on Facebook.

Worst case scenario, my account is suspended for a while.

Best case scenario, I find out that I really am part of the XCheck list.

If so, I wonder if I’ll have access to the cell phone numbers of all the other XCheck members. I’ve always wanted to chat with people like Springsteen and Obama.

And I know it would be a longshot, but maybe I’ll even get a Zoom meeting with Doug the Pug…

*image from Mint

62 thoughts on “I’m Less Important to Facebook Than a Dog

  1. I’m sort of surprised I’ve never been flagged. I posted an image a couple of weeks ago that was super suspect, but I heard nothing. Of course my posts skew heavily left so running afoul of the thought police is less likely.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Jim, I have deleted the post but it was a twisted nursery rhyme cake. A take off of The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. The cake was a boot and I had a whole lot of fondant children homeschooling with laptops and headphones and a mother doing the washing. The advert Teagan created for my book Behind Closed Doors is based on that cake.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am with Salsa on this one. Facebook is only concerned about what makes money, not about good or acceptable content. That is what comes with private ownership of a platform. Glad you are keeping people informed. Say “Hi” to Doug for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was irritated (but in no way surprised) that the elite, once again, play by a different set of rules. But a Pug? Not even a Lab, but a Pug? That bruises my ego in a way I didn’t think possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think it’s a badge of honour not to be on any list that includes Numpty Jr, though I think being considered lesser than the ugliest breed of dog is pushing it a bit. Does Doug employ puperazzi to take his photos?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good point about Junior…
      and yes, there are many dogs better-looking than a pug, but maybe that’s part of its charm (although it never worked for me…)

      and I kept trying to think of a pun to go with paparazzi, and all I could come up with was pugarazzi, and it’s not that good. yours is perfect…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I got banned from ESPN for giving my opinion in their comment section (You can’t leave comments anymore.). I know my take was not controversial at all. (No cussing or politics—it was why I thought one quarterback was more valuable to his team.) Then when I wrote to them to find out why I had been banned, someone wrote back saying He didn’t know why. He said I just needed to wait the required 30 days, and then I could post again??? Not liking that answer, I asked for a better explanation but didn’t get one. Right after that, they stopped taking comments from people on their articles.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel your pain, however, I would much rather follow Doug the Pug vs. a lot of the other “suggested posts” Facebook feels the need to put front and center on my newsfeed on a regular basis!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Why am I not surprised at all of this? There has always been one rule for one and one rule for the other…The computer probably doesn’t know Doug the Pug is a dog…or maybe it just does and in that case maybe I’m on that list..probably the one where I am banned for life…haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and who knows, maybe there are several lists that people are on at Facebook. If there is a list for blogging accounting teachers, then maybe I’d be on that one. Facebook would have to make sure we don’t say anything bad about debits and credits…

      Liked by 1 person

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