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Facebook content moderators require better protection against coronavirus

Illustration for an article titled Facebook executives say the company risks its life to turn a pandemic profit

Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / Contributor (Getty images)

In May 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic is in full swing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will allow most of its employees to continue working from home at least until the end of the year in an attempt to “limit the spread of Covid-19 so we can keep our communities safe and get back to work soon. “

But the same the luxury was obvious does not extend to thousand fleet on contract workers Facebook works to moderately harmful content on the platform, and on Wednesday 200 of these workers send open letter to the company’s top managers who oppose the way they have been treated.

Addressed to Zuckerberg and Facebook chief operating officer Cheryl Sandberg as well CEOs of outsourcing companies Accenture and Covalen, the letter accuses Facebook of compromising the health and safety of its performers and their relatives in order to maintain Facebook profits during the pandemic. “

“Months later, when you allowed content moderators to work from home, facing intense pressure to keep Facebook hateless and misinformed, you forced us to return to the office,” the letter said.Moderators who provide a doctoral dissertation on personal risk from COVID have been exempted from personal presence. There are no moderators with vulnerable relatives who could die if they negotiate COVID with us. “

Like it is, already has have been outbreaks of COVID in several of Facebook offices, with workers in Ireland, Germany, Poland and the United States who tested positive for the virus.

And according to the authors of the letters, the threat of infection is on top of the already psychological punishment load—one that made Facebook pay off some $ 52 million to US-based performers last spring for trauma suffered during work:

Before the pandemic, content moderation was Facebook’s most brutal job. We spent hours abusing and abusing children for hours. Moderators working on child abuse increased their goals during the pandemic without additional support.

Now, on top of work that is psychologically toxic, keeping work means walking in a hot zone. Numerous cases of COVID have occurred in several floor offices. The employees have asked the management of Facebook and the management of your outsourcing companies such as Accenture and CPL to take urgent steps to protect and evaluate our work. You refused. We are publishing this letter because we have no choice.

Along with the opportunity to work from home, the letterSignatories also list a number of other requests, including the option to receive a hazard payment and a call to stop outsourcing and internal content moderators in order to receive health care and other benefits.

The letter provoked a response from Facebook, as the company hurried to argue it most of the 15,000 content reviewers who work continue to work from home during the pandemic and reiterate that they do provide “welfare resources” to their workers.

“Although we believe in open internal dialogue, these discussions must be fair,” a Facebook spokesman said Toby Partlet said the New York Times in a statement. “Facebook has gone beyond the health guidelines for protecting facilities for every office job.”

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