(RepublicanInformer.com)- A Facebook content moderator testifying before Irish lawmakers has accused the social media monopoly causing her to suffer “mental health struggles” after being exposed to child abuse and graphic material she was charged with policing.
Plunkett’s job is to “train the algorithm” that allows Facebook to purge objectionable content. But in so doing, Plunkett claims being exposed to the content “started to get to me.”
“Some my colleagues have it even worse,” Plunket told the Dail Committee on Trade. “They’re working child abuse queues, self-harm queues all day. A manager tells them that they should limit their exposure to two hours maximum a day but this isn’t happening.”
In order to help their moderators cope with the trauma of being exposed to “hate speech, bullying, graphic violence, suicide” and the like, they were offered the help of “wellness coaches.”
Among the things Plunkett says the “wellness coach” suggested was to go out for karaoke or take up painting.
“But sometimes,” Plunkett said, “you don’t always feel like singing frankly.”
Plunkett told Irish lawmakers that Facebook has created a “climate of fear” saying “Facebook have confused us and undermined our belief in the right to speak.”
Welcome to the club. Facebook isn’t generally known for believing in the right to speak.
The majority of Facebook’s content moderation is outsourced to firms located both in Ireland and the US.
A group of lawyers and tech experts called Foxglove has been campaigning for better working conditions for Facebook moderators – most of whom are not directly employed by Facebook. And because they are not Facebook employees, these moderators earn about half that of Facebook staff.
Foxglove, as well as Union organizers believe Facebook has created a veritable digital sweatshop where workers “fear retaliation” if they speak out about conditions. They claim the non-disclosure agreement all moderators are required to sign has caused a “chilling effect” on employees.
In their statement responding to the claims made at this hearing, Covalen, the company Facebook outsources much of its moderation, wrote “We value our employees and the vital work they do.”
Covalen went on to say the non-disclosure agreements these employees sign is “a normal and widespread business practice.”
Regarding the “wellness coaches,” Covalen described them as “highly-qualified professionals” in the areas of psychology, counselling and psychotherapy.