Facebook Moderators Press for Pandemic Safety Protections

More than 200 Facebook content moderators called for improved health and safety security Wednesday, as the social media giant called the staff back to the office during the pandemic.

A petition signed by contract workers living in different countries stated that Facebook should guarantee better conditions or encourage workers to continue their work from home, reports AFP.

“After months of allowing content moderators to work from home, faced with intense pressure to keep Facebook free of hate and disinformation, you have forced us back to the office,” said the open letter released by the British- based legal activist firm Foxglove.

The letter called on Facebook to "keep moderators and their families safe" by retaining remote work as much as possible and providing "hazard pay" to those who come to the office.

When the pandemic struck, Facebook sent home most of its content moderators—those responsible for filtering violent and hateful images, as well as other content that violates the rules of the site.

But the social platform discovered limits on what remote employees could do and turned to automated systems using artificial intelligence, which had other shortcomings.

“We appreciate the valuable work content reviewers do and we prioritize their health and safety,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

“The majority of these 15,000 global content reviewers have been working from home and will continue to do so for the duration of the pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

The workers’ letter said the current environment highlights the need for human moderators.

“The AI wasn’t up to the job. Important speech got swept into the maw of the Facebook filter — and risky content, like self-harm, stayed up,” the letter said.

“The lesson is clear. Facebook’s algorithms are years away from achieving the necessary level of sophistication to moderate content automatically. They may never get there.”

The petition said Facebook should consider making the moderators full employees — who in most cases may continue working remotely through mid- 2021.

“By outsourcing our jobs, Facebook implies that the 35,000 of us who work in moderation are somehow peripheral to social media,” the letter said, referring to a broader group of moderators that includes the 15,000 content reviewers.

“Yet we are so integral to Facebook’s viability that we must risk our lives to come into work.”

Comments

Shampratik Deshkal Epaper

Logo

© 2020 Shampratik Deshkal All Rights Reserved. Design & Developed By Root Soft Bangladesh