Facebook content administrators in Europe and the U.S. are urging the company to end overly restrictive confidentiality agreements that prevent people from talking about working conditions. In a letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and CEOs of Covalen and Accenture, Moderators say these non-restrictive facilities are not limited to user data and help maintain a culture of “excessive secrecy”.
“Despite the company’s best efforts to remain silent, we are writing to demand a culture of fear and excessive secrecy in the company today,” supervisors write. “No NDA can legally stop us from talking about our working conditions.”
The news comes amid growing tension between the company and the content controllers of its Irish contracts. In May, a Moderator named Isabella Plunkett testified in a parliamentary committee to try to push for a legislative change.
“Moderated content is awful,” he said. “It would affect anyone … To help, they offer us wellness coaches. These people mean really well, but they’re not doctors. They suggest karaoke and painting, but frankly, it doesn’t always feel like singing after seeing someone beat.
The letter asks the company to give supervisors regular access to clinical psychiatrists and psychologists. “Imagine watching violent content for hours or children taking advantage of online abuse in your daily work,” they write. “You can’t be left unharmed. This work must not cost us mental health. “
Moderators also want to bring into the house, saying that the current system makes them second-class citizens. They ask the company to give them the same salary and benefits as full-time Facebook moderators.
The letter currently has 60 signatures from moderators from Dublin, Lisbon and Barcelona – as well as parts of the United States. It has been co-authored with Foxglove, a non-profit organization in the UK that focuses on technology law.
“Facebook content administrators around the world are working in grueling workflows that go through an endless flood of the worst material on the Internet,” wrote Martha Dark, director of Foxglove, in a statement. “However, moderators do not receive appropriate, meaningful, clinical and long-term mental health support, they have to sign very restrictive NDAs to keep them quiet about what they have seen, and the majority of the workforce works through outsourcing companies where they are nowhere near the same support and benefits. , which Facebook gives to its own staff. ”
In a statement, Facebook rejected the idea that moderators do not have access to mental health care. “We recognize that reviewing content can be difficult work, which is why we work with partners who support their employees through training and psychological support when working with challenging content,” the spokesperson said. “In Ireland, this includes 24/7 on-site support with trained professionals, emergency services and access to private healthcare from day one. We also use technology to limit their exposure to graphic material as much as possible.”
Accenture and Covalen did not provide a statement prior to publication.