Pandemic: Facebook moderators ask for more recognition and protection

SAN FRANCISCO | Dozens of Facebook moderators who consider themselves “sacrificed” by the social network have signed a damning letter for the company, which assures that the sanitary conditions of employees returning to offices are better than all the minimum criteria imposed by the authorities .

“Facebook needs us. It’s time for you to recognize this and value our work. Sacrificing our health and our safety to make a profit is immoral ”, assert the 200 signatories of the letter addressed to the leaders of the Californian group and put online Wednesday.

The social media giant has 15,000 people responsible for filtering problematic content, from pedophilia to terrorism and hate speech. Most are employed by subcontractors, such as Accenture or CPL.

Angry moderators blame Facebook for ‘forcing’ them back to work in person, despite potential or proven risks of COVID-19 contamination, as the group has implemented telecommuting by default at least until the end of the year for most of its 45,000 employees worldwide.

“We appreciate the important work done by the moderators and their health and safety are our priority,” reacted a spokesperson for Facebook, before calling for “honest” discussions: “the majority of the 15,000 moderators of contents work from home and this will continue for the duration of the pandemic ”.

“Everyone has access to health protections and well-being resources (…) and Facebook goes beyond health recommendations for offices,” he continued.

The signatories ask to promote work at home, but also risk premiums and their integration into the company, with the same health insurance and psychiatric care as Facebook employees.

“Without our work, Facebook is unusable. His empire is collapsing. Your algorithms can’t spot satire or separate journalism from disinformation. They do not respond quickly enough to child abuse or suicidal behavior. We do, ”they argue.

However, moderation of content is “the most difficult task that is within the company” and “the pandemic has benefited Facebook”, they insist, in reference to the explosion of time spent on networks during confinements and the fortune of the boss, Mark Zuckerberg, “who has almost doubled during the crisis”.

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