Fb moderators say corporations risked their lives by forcing them again into the workplace

In a Facebook deletion center in Berlin, agents who work for a third company remove illegal hate speech from the social network.

Gordon Welters for the New York Times

More than 200 Facebook content moderators from the US and Europe have written an open letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to let them work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We, the undersigned Facebook Content Moderators and Facebook staff, are writing to express our dismay at your decision to risk our lives – and those of our colleagues and loved ones – to keep Facebook’s profits up during the pandemic,” said it published in the letter Wednesday.

“After allowing content moderators to work from home for months and under heavy pressure to keep Facebook free of hatred and disinformation, you forced us back into the office.”

The moderators continue to demand that Facebook maximize work at home, offer hazard payment, end outsourcing, and provide “real” health and mental health care.

A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that the company values ​​the work of its content reviewers and that it prioritizes their health and safety.

The social media giant, constantly struggling to keep its platform free of questionable posts, photos, and videos, is outsourcing much of its content to companies like Accenture and CPL.

“Before the pandemic, content moderation was definitely Facebook’s most brutal task,” said the letter, which was also sent to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer, Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, and Anne Heraty, CEO of CPL , is directed. “We’ve been stacking through violence and child abuse for hours. Moderators working on child abuse content had loftier goals during the pandemic with no extra support.”

“Aside from the psychologically toxic work, being stuck at work means walking into a hot zone. Multiple COVID cases have occurred in several offices. Employees have asked the Facebook leadership and the leadership of your outsourcing company, Accenture and CPL, for urgent ones To take steps to protect ourselves and value our work. You refused. We are publishing this letter because we have no other choice. “

The Guardian reported last month that despite a high-level lockdown, Facebook moderators at CPL were forced to work in a Dublin office while Facebook’s own employees worked from home.

The moderators, who are paid significantly less than the average Facebook employee, claim in the letter that Facebook’s AI software cannot detect all content that violates company guidelines.

“Without our work, Facebook is useless,” it continues. “His empire is collapsing. Your algorithms cannot detect satire. You cannot separate journalism from disinformation. You cannot react quickly enough to self-harm or child abuse. We can.”

“Facebook needs us. It is time you recognized this and appreciated our work. It is immoral to sacrifice our health and safety for profit.”

A Facebook spokesperson said, “While we believe in open internal dialogue, these discussions must be honest. The majority of these 15,000 global content reviewers have worked from home and will continue to do so for the duration of the pandemic.”

The spokesman added, “Everyone has access to health care and confidential wellbeing resources from day one on the job, and Facebook has exceeded health guidelines on facility safety for all office work.”

A CPL spokesperson said: “Our employees are doing extremely important work to keep the Facebook platform safe. They make a positive contribution to society in the work they do to keep our online communities safe and their roles are considered essential Due to the nature of the work, it cannot be done from home. “

An Accenture spokesperson said, “An important part of our culture is to encourage all of our employees to have a dialogue about issues that arise in the workplace and beyond. We welcome feedback from our employees and strongly support their right to their perspectives express. “

More than 25 Facebook content moderators in Dublin recently quit to take jobs at TikTok’s new trust and security centers.

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