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Facebook has secretly created a system that exempts VIP users of the social network from its key rules

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Well-known personalities can publish posts that contain hate speech or explicit sexual content, and are not subject to blocking for this, like ordinary users.

Although the founder of the social network, Mark Zuckerberg, has publicly stated that Facebook does not distinguish political, cultural and journalistic elites among its three billion users and that its standards are the same for everyone, this is simply not the case, writes WSJ.

As the publication specifies, the control of the records of such users is carried out by a special program known as “cross-checking” or XCheck. Some users are directly whitelisted and completely exempt from Facebook sanctions (for example, from being banned), while others are allowed to immediately publish content that violates the rules, subject to further approval by Facebook employees.

Users monitored by this program, without any sanctions, published posts with statements about the lethality of the coronavirus vaccine, about Hillary Clinton’s connection with a secret organization of pedophiles and quoted Donald Trump, who called “animals” seeking asylum in the United States.

The documents show that there were at least 5.8 million XCheck accounts in 2020. The internal guidelines on the acceptability of cross-validation set out criteria for whitelisting, including “decent press coverage” and “influence or popularity”. The program reaches out to virtually everyone who appears regularly in the media or has a significant online following, including movie stars, talk show hosts, academics, and high-follower bloggers.

The WSJ explains how Internet scandals involving famous personalities have occurred with the help of Facebook “exceptions”. So, in 2019, footballer Neymar posted nude photos of a woman who accused him of rape. The post was viewed by tens of millions of users before it was deleted by Facebook. Other whitelisted accounts have repeatedly posted inflammatory claims that Facebook’s verification services have already been deemed fake, including the deadly harm of Covid-19 vaccines and a “pedophile conspiracy” involving Hillary Clinton.

Facebook contacted some of the VIPs who violated the platform’s policies and gave them a 24-hour “self-fix” window to remove content that violates the rules on their own, the newspaper writes.

The WSJ found out that this type of verification was introduced in order to improve the reputation, as there were previously a number of incidents with illegal blocking of accounts of famous personalities.

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Top cybersecurity M&A deals in 2021

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The cybersecurity market in 2021 is incredibly hot. Information security service providers buy competitors to gain a foothold, or acquire companies to expand their offerings.

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Want to learn how to work with cloud databases and take the DP-900 certification exam for free?

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Take a two-day training session from Microsoft on October 25 and 26.

From Microsoft experts, you will learn about the key principles of Azure services, proven approaches, and the specifics of working with relational and non-relational data.

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Women and minorities are more likely to be cyberattacks than other people

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Women are more likely than men to receive messages from unknown numbers containing potentially malicious links.

Demographics play a large role in how often people are victims of cybercrime. Low-income and vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by cybercrime. As the results showed poll 5 thousand people in Germany, the UK and the US, conducted by experts from Malwarebytes, Digitunity and Cybercrime Support Network, minorities, as well as groups of people with low income and low educational level, are more likely to be victims of a cyber attack. Some groups are much more likely to face online threats.

For example, women are much more likely to receive text messages from unknown numbers containing potentially malicious links than men (79% versus 73%). Almost half (46%) of women said their social media accounts had been hacked, compared with 37% of men.

Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) social media accounts are more likely to be attacked than whites (45% versus 40%); BIPOC populations are also more likely to experience identity theft (21% versus 15%). In fact, only 47% of BIPOC respondents escaped the financial consequences of cybercriminals.

Age is also an important factor. 36% of people aged 65 and over have been victims of credit card information theft.

21% of women and 23% of BIPOC respondents experienced “significant” stress when faced with suspicious online activity.

According to the report, the statistics are linked to the overall sense of security (or lack thereof) in cyberspace. While half of all respondents do not feel secure online and 31% do not feel safe online, the numbers are different for women. Women feel the least private online (53% versus 47% of men) and the least secure (35% versus 27% of men).

Socioeconomic class also matters. People with higher incomes (51%) feel more secure online than people with lower incomes (40%). The same is true for educational attainment – users with the highest educational attainment feel more secure (48%) than those who graduated only from college (44%) or high school (40%).

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