Give us better Covid protection: Moderators tell Facebook

Facebook moderators blast Zuckerberg, claim he's risking their lives for profits

The letter prompted a response from Facebook, with the company quick to argue that the majority of the 15,000 content reviewers it employs have continued to work from home during the pandemic and reiterating that it does make "well-being resources" available to its workers.

The numbers were provided alongside the social network's latest transparency report, which details Facebook's content takedowns over a variety of policies.

A spokesperson from Facebook has said that there needs to be an open and honest dialogue between the company and these moderators who have complained.

In August, Facebook said staff could work from home until the summer of 2021. The petitioners have requested for remote working to the highest possible limit, or at least offer " hazard pay" to the moderators who come to the office in the pandemic.

Facebook employees, who said "More than one Covid-19 incident occurred in several offices" in the letter, said in the text they published, "We want employees, Facebook managers and company managers such as Accenture and CPL to take urgent steps to protect us and value our work".

"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. "To sacrifice our health and safety for profit is immoral". It's a tricky, never-ending task to remove objectionable user posts and ads, in part because people are uniquely good at understanding what differentiates, say, an artistic nude painting from an exploitative photo or how words and images that seem innocent on their own can be hurtful when paired.

Mark Zuckerberg's dream is that AI moderation will one day solve some of the platform's problems. He noted that around 95 percent of Facebook users don't click-through the warning labels to view posts that are labeled for misinformation.

In India, for example, Facebook has allowed Islamophobic speech to remain on its platform to avoid upsetting the ruling nationalist party in a move described as "at best, Facebook is complicit through inaction, and at worst it shows outright deference to violent ethno-nationalist forces in the region".


Facebook disputed the characterizations made in the letter. Of course, the software can not differentiate between satire and a harmful threat in a post.

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

But clearly, as the spotlight is well and truly on Facebook, there are internal problems that have now spilled out into the open. "Facebook also pays attention to healthcare guidance to keep facilities safe in any in-office work." used the expressions.

But the workers said only those with doctors' notes are now excused from working at home and called on Facebook to offer hazard pay and make its contractors full-time staff.

In a blog post, Facebook said the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt its content-review workforce, though some enforcement metrics were returning to pre-pandemic levels. They can not respond quickly enough to self-harm or child abuse. "They will be rolled back the same as they were rolled out, which is very carefully", he said.

"Now, on top of work that is psychologically toxic, holding onto the job means walking into a [Covid] hot zone", the moderators woite.

Accenture and CPL have so far not responded to the letter.

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