Sci-tech

Facebook moderators say company is asking them to 'risk our lives'

Facebook moderators say company is asking them to 'risk our lives'”

They can not sift journalism from disinformation.

In order to account for language and cultural context, these samples are sent to content reviewers across different languages and regions. Now, more of Facebook's contractors are back to work in offices.

"We, the undersigned Facebook content moderators and Facebook employees, write to express our dismay at your decision to risk our lives - and the lives of our colleagues and loved ones - to maintain Facebook's profits during the pandemic", opens the letter.

They claim that the Facebook management has needlessly put their lives at risk by forcing them back into the office, even as full-time employees work from home until July 2021.

"You have previously said content moderation can not be performed remotely for security reasons", they wrote.

Though Facebook has been at the centre of hate speech leading to real life ethnic violence in many places around the globe, it is clear the company is not keeping up, either because it can not or because it does not prioritise the global communities' wellbeing.

The group, which included 62 named or partly-named signees and 171 who chose to remain anonymous, made a series of demands that included calling for Facebook to "maximise home-working", for moderators to receive "hazard pay" of 1.5 times their wage and for employees who are high risk or live with someone high risk to work from home indefinitely.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the open letter stating: "We appreciate the valuable work content reviewers do and we prioritize their health and safety".

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Schroepfer said on a separate call Wednesday that Facebook's AI systems still face challenges detecting toxic content contained in mixed media content such as memes. Moderators have access to health care and "confidential wellbeing resources" from their first day on the job, he added. "These include vastly reduced building occupancy, extensive social distancing and masks, daily office cleaning, individual transportation and other measures".

The letter is addressed to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, as well as the chiefs of Accenture and CPL.

The company said earlier this year that it would be relying more on AI and automation to help moderate its platform during Covid-19 and beyond. "We may be a little less effective in the near term while we're adjusting to this", he told reporters in March.

Workers who signed the open letter said the pandemic had revealed the automated systems' shortcomings.

Facebook published a series of posts on Thursday, detailing, among other things, the platform's progress in identifying hate speech and misinformation with the advances in its AI technology.

Rosen said that "the majority of our review workforce is still working from home" but that Facebook is not asking these people to review the most offending content. "Moderators with vulnerable relatives, who might die were they to contract Covid from us, have not". You refused. We are publishing this letter because we are left with no choice. "They may never get there".

Schroepfer said the real time training is still a work in process, but that it could dramatically improve the company's ability to proactively detect and remove harmful content.

"We're committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future", Facebook's statement reads.



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