Facebook content moderators have reportedly been ordered to watch more child abuse
- Facebook content moderators employed by Accenture have been ordered to review an extra 48 minutes of child abuse a day, The Intercept reported Thursday.
- Accenture told hundreds of moderators in emails that, under its renegotiated contract with Facebook, they'd now need to look at 6.3 hours of "child-exploitation imagery" instead of 5.5, according to The Intercept.
- The change came barely a month after Facebook agreed to pay $52 million to moderators in a lawsuit brought by those who developed mental-health conditions on the job.
- Facebook and the contracting companies it works with have faced intense criticism over working conditions for moderators who review violent and toxic content, particularly following reporting from The Verge in early 2019.
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Facebook content moderators employed by the contracting firm Accenture have been told they'll need to watch nearly an hour more of child-abuse content a day to meet their quotas, The Intercept reported Thursday.
In a series of emails sent in late May and early June, Accenture said moderators responsible for reviewing "child-exploitation imagery" for Facebook would, under a renewed contract between the companies, need to review 6.3 hours of content a day instead of 5.5 hours, according to The Intercept.
The publication said the changes would affect at least hundreds of Facebook's outsourced moderators, who review the questionable content to determine whether it violates the social-media company's policies and should be removed. The increased workload, according to the emails sent to moderators, is meant to align Accenture with its "global partners as well as our partners in MVW," which can be interpreted as a reference to Facebook's Mountain View, California, office. The email apparently suggested that workers in the Mountain View office were already viewing 6.3 hours a day, according the emails seen by The Intercept.
Moderators are tasked with viewing some of the most vile content on the internet for hours every day, and Facebook and its partners have come under fire over their treatment of those workers, particularly since The Verge reported last year on low wages and oppressive working conditions for Facebook moderators working for the contracting firm Cognizant.
Last month, Facebook agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a former moderator by paying $52 million to current and former moderators who developed mental-health conditions while on the job, as well as agreeing to provide better mental-health support for workers.
But the reported increase in production hours seems to run counter to that settlement, as well as best practices around protecting moderators from trauma that stemmed from research Facebook itself commissioned (through a group it cofounded called Technology Coalition).
Both Facebook and Accenture denied to Business Insider that the social-media company had instructed Accenture to increase production hours, though neither would elaborate.
"We haven't increased guidance for production hours with any of our partners," a Facebook representative told Business Insider, while refusing to comment on the reported contract renewal.
"Facebook hasn't changed our requirements for working hours. As always, we continue to provide our team members proactive and on-demand resiliency support. Our people are encouraged to use these services at any time, without restriction," a representative for Accenture told Business Insider.
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