What The Wire Reports Got Wrong

Update on October 16, 2022 at 10:00PM IST:

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. We have located the Workplace account in question, and found that it was created on October 13 — after the Wire’s news reports were initially published. 

The account was set up externally 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. Based on the timing of this account’s creation on October 13, it appears to have been set up specifically in order to manufacture evidence to support the Wire’s inaccurate reporting. We have locked the account because it’s in violation of our policies and is being used to perpetuate fraud and mislead journalists. 

Originally published on October 12, 2022 at 11:02PM IST:

Two articles published by The Wire allege that a user whose account is cross-checked can influence content 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:

  • The first article claims that a cross-check account has the power to have content removed from our platform with no questions asked. This is false. Cross-check has nothing to do with the ability to report posts to seek the removal of content. The posts in question were surfaced for review by automated systems, not user reports.  The system is designed to ensure that enforcement decisions related to content posted by cross-check accounts are made accurately and with additional levels of human review. We don’t exempt anyone from our Community Standards and remove content that violates them if we see it. Information on cross-check has been shared publicly on our Transparency Center.
  • This article was also based on allegedly leaked screenshots from our internal tools. We believe this document is fabricated. The URL on that “report” is not in use. The naming convention is one we don’t use. There is no such report. 
  • We did not identify a user report regarding the @cringearchivist content in September as reported. 
  • The second story cites emails from a Meta employee – the screenshot included in the story has two emails – both are fake. There are no such emails.
  • The same story references an internal journalist “watch list.” No such list exists. 

We accept scrutiny of our content decisions, but we fundamentally reject these false allegations based on what we believe to be fabricated evidence. We hope that The Wire is the victim of this hoax, not the perpetrator.


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