Facebook to Raise Wages for Content Moderators

Facebook to Raise Wages for Content Moderators”

Today's pay raise announcement is part of a new policy to ensure all Facebook contract workers earn a living wage in the most expensive U.S. cities including San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC and Seattle.

Content reviewers in the Bay Area, New York City and Washington will see an even higher pay boost, to at least $22 per hour.

Facebook is raising the minimum wage for some of its US contract workers, with those in the Bay Area seeing a higher increase because of this region's cost of living, the company announced Monday.

Facebook is raising how much it pays US contractors who do some of its most taxing work, including watching violent and other objectionable material for possible removal. Seattle residents will get $20 per hour and those in all other metro areas in the U.S. will start at $18 per hour.

The wage hike also extends to other contractors, with the company committing to pay a living wage across the USA for all of its contractors, and even higher wages for content reviewers.

"It's become clear that $15 per hour doesn't meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate", the social-networking giant said in a blog post that noted the current minimum wage has been in place since 2015.

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Facebook is giving a pay raise to employees saddled with some of the toughest work in the tech industry: content moderation. And even its thousands of human workers can't catch everything. Facebook employs 15,000 contract moderators globally - more than any other tech company. By some estimates, contractors make up at least 40 percent of the workforce at large Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Google. In February, The Verge reported that some moderators who spend their days scrubbing these sites have suffered from depression.

Facebook said its decision to increase wages is not a direct response to negative press coverage.

It is, though, rolling out changes to its moderator program, both technological and policy-related.

"We made these changes after hearing feedback that reviewers want more control over how they see content that can be challenging", Facebook said. Reviewers will still need to remove the blur effect to review the content, but at least it won't show up in their feed in the abrupt way that it does now.

The California-based social network meant to foster consistency among its vendors around the world with requirements such as overtime and premiums for night or weekend shifts, as well as healthcare that meet standards of the US Affordable Care Act. "They already have counseling support available through our partners, but as I traveled the world over visiting all our sites, I noticed there wasn't as much consistency", said Arun Chandra, vice president of scaled operations at Facebook. The contractors hadn't spoken previously about their organizing, but used Facebook's internal communication system, Facebook Workplace, where thousands of employees have seen or commented on the messages.

"We're kicking off a biannual audit and compliance program this year for content review teams", the company said.

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