Social media giant Meta has claimed that a report in the Wire – which suggested BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya was part of the firm’s controversial XCheck programme – was “inaccurate” and appeared to be based on “fabricated” documentation. However, the news portal reported that Meta’s claims were in stark contrast to an internal email asking its employees “how the hell” the same document had been “leaked”.
On Monday, the Wire reported that Meta had allegedly granted Malviya an unchecked ability to remove content from its platforms as part of the XCheck programme – a privilege granted to VIP users that was first reported on by the Wall Street Journal in September last year. The Wire report is the first time that the programme's India deployment has been suggested, with the allegation that Instagram posts critical of BJP leader Yogi Adityanath were removed without the page administrator being granted audience.
However, a Meta spokesperson on Tuesday called the report “inaccurate”, hours after Meta policy communications director Andy Stone said that XCheck status “has nothing to do with the ability to report posts”. “The posts in question were surfaced for review by automated systems, not humans. And the underlying documentation appears to be fabricated,” Stone tweeted.
But the news portal published another report to back its reportage, including a picture of an alleged email Stone sent to internal teams asking how the documents leaked. The picture also suggested that Facebook maintains a watchlist of journalists.
However, Meta has denied that the email is authentic. Guy Rosen, the chief security information officer at Meta, said, “The supposed email address from which it was sent isn’t even Stone’s current email address, and the ‘to’ address isn’t one we use here either. There is no such email. That same story makes reference to an internal journalist ‘watchlist.’ There is no such list.”