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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Facebook Oversight Board on Tuesday called on the social media giant to "commit to transparency" in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report last week that millions of high-profile users get special treatment by content moderators.

Why it matters: Although initially funded by Facebook, the Oversight Board operates independently as a kind of Supreme Court for the platform. The company has agreed to obey its rulings on specific content disputes, but the board's broader policy advice is strictly on a "recommendation" basis.

Driving the news: When public figures and celebrities post content that may violate Facebook's rules, actions against them first receive special review under a program called XCheck or cross-check. According to the Journal, Facebook has offered little in the way of clear guidelines for who the program should cover.

What's next: The Oversight Board says it will soon "meet with the company to address concerns around inconsistencies in its decision-making and whether the company has been fully forthcoming in its responses on cross-check and whitelisting."

In a Tuesday blog post, the board's four co-chairs wrote it is "looking into the degree to which Facebook has been fully forthcoming in its responses in relation to cross-check, including the practice of whitelisting" and plans to meet soon with the company on the issue.

What they're saying: "At the Oversight Board, we have been asking questions about cross-check for some time. In our decision concerning former US President Donald Trump’s accounts, we warned that a lack of clear public information on cross-check and Facebook’s ‘newsworthiness exception’ could contribute to perceptions that Facebook is unduly influenced by political and commercial considerations."

The other side: Last weekend, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, told Axios the company would strive to provide more data to researchers and complained that the company "gets no benefit of the doubt at all, fairly or unfairly."

Go deeper

House Democrats target algorithms in liability shield bill

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The leader of a powerful House committee is taking aim at websites' liability shield in a new bill that would remove protections if recommended content leads to real-world harm.

The big picture: The bill is the latest attempt to tweak tech's shield after mounting frustrations from both Democrats and Republicans about Facebook, YouTube and Twitter's content moderation practices.

Updated 59 mins ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).