19 March 2019

We are seeing calls for increased moderation of vile content on social media — while this will not solve deeply embedded racism and misogyny, it is nevertheless reasonable to expect that companies will take responsibility for the impact they have on society. But spare a thought for the outsourced and exploited workers who are forced to wade through this filth. Facebook’s content moderators “make just [US]$28,800 per year and are micromanaged down to the minute; for instance, they are allotted nine minutes per day of ‘wellness time,’ but they are forbidden to go to the restroom during this time. Moreover, Muslim employees have been forbidden from using their wellness time to pray. Many content moderators have developed chronic PTSD or secondary traumatic stress from watching graphically violent videos for weeks, and months, or years on end.” That’s well below the Australian minimum wage, to do very difficult, essential work. These are tech sweatshops and the social media oligarchy should be held responsible for them, too.