Meta And The Wire Are Fighting With Each Other

There appears to be a spat between Meta and The Wire over information that The Wire reported regarding Meta’s XCheck program. At a glance, it seems as though Meta has disagreements with things that The Wire posted regarding Meta’s XCheck program and its affect on Instagram.

The Wire posted an article titled: “If BJP’s Amit Malviya Reports Your Post, Instagram Will Take It Down – No Questions Asked” on October 10, 2022. In this article, The Wire reported that a specific satire account had some of their Instagram posts removed shortly after they were posted. According to The Wire, the posts that were removed were reported by Instagram user Amit Maviya, who is reportedly “President of Janata Party’s infamous IT Cell.”

On October 12, Meta responded with a post on its Newsroom titled: “What The Wire Reports Got Wrong”. Here is part of that post:

Two articles published by The Wire allege that a user whose account is cross-checked can influence decisions on Instagram without any review. Our cross-check system was built to prevent potential over-enforcement mistakes and to double-check cases where a decision could require more understanding or there could be a higher risk for a mistake. To be clear, our cross-check program does not grant enrolled accounts the power to automatically have content removed from our platform.

While it is legitimate for us to be held accountable for our content decisions, the allegations made by The Wire are false. They contain mischaracterizations of how our enforcement processes work, and rely on what we believe to be fabricated evidence in their reporting. Here is what they got wrong…

According to Meta, the first article from The Wire claims that a cross-check account has the power to remove content from Meta’s platform with no questions asked. Meta says this is false.

Meta claims the article was “based on allegedly leaked screenshots from our internal tools. We believe this document is fabricated”.

Meta states that they did not identify a user regarding the account mentioned in The Wire’s first article.

Meta says the second story cites emails from a Meta employee – and claims that the screenshot included in the story has two emails – both are fake

On October 15, The Wire tweeted a thread pushing back against Meta’s statements. In that thread, The Wire links to a new article that provides more information about why they believe that they reported things correctly.

On October 16, Meta added to its Newsroom post with the following:

This is an ongoing investigation and we will update as it unfolds. At this time, we can confirm that the video shared by The Wire that purports to show an internal Instagram system (and which The Wire claims is evidence that their false allegations are true) in fact depicts an externally-created Meta Workplace account that was deliberately set up with Instagram’s name and brand insignia in order to deceive people.

According to Meta, that Workplace account was set up as a free trial account on Meta’s enterprise Workplace product under the name “Instagram” and using the Instagram brand as its profile picture. It is not an internal account. Meta also claims that the account was created on October 13, and Meta believes it was set up to manufacture evidence to support The Wire’s reporting (which Meta called “inaccurate”).

Personally, I don’t really care who is right or who is wrong, mostly because I don’t have the time to sort through everything. I’ll leave you to decide that for yourself. That said, something in this fight between Meta and The Wire seems fishy to me… but I can’t pinpoint it.