The hidden suffering of Facebook’s moderators

Far from the ultra-modern offices of the Silicon Valley, content moderators work to clean social networks from horrors that are published there. Violence, pedophilia, live murders: they have to watch all these unbearable videos, for low wages.


Their mission

Their job is purging social network from inappropriate content posted by surfers. They watch the entire video and determine if it violates the community standards. And if so, it will be erased.


Their mental distress

Obviously, some contents are awful and show the worst of humanity: violence, pedophilia, murder… Moderators have to watch it 8 hours a day, with ridiculous breaks.

Watching these videos, they cry, break down, vomit. And the nightmare continues after: some employees have post-traumatic symptoms. The company offers therapy sessions and a counselor, but it is not enough. And the assistance program stops when employees leave the company.

Moreover, moderators signed non-disclosure agreements: they can’t discuss their work or their emotional issues with their family or friends. Sometimes, surfers intimidate moderators to have erased the content. Moderators feel unsafe. Finally, seeing it all the time, some employees begun to embrace the racist viewpoints or conspiracy theorist content that they are supposed to moderate.


Their workplace

Moderators don’t work with the others social network employees. Companies mostly delegate this job to subsidiaries outside the United States, in countries where the labor is cheap. Also, moderators are not as free as others workers, they are managed down to the second, include to go to the bathroom.


Their pitiful wages

We are far from fabulous wages of Silicon Valley workers. For instance, a median Facebook employee earns $240,000 annually. A content moderator in the USA $28,800. Also, social networks use contract workers because they are cheaper, meanwhile companies such as Facebook makes billions of profits.


Source :

A propos de Mathilde GARGASSON

Une juriste en quête d'aventures 4.0, actuellement étudiante en Master 2 Droit de l'économie numérique.

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