What did it take to identify a mental health crisis in Content Moderation?

“Facebook is shifting content moderation for the most sensitive types of content, such as suicide and self-injury prevention, child exploitation, counter-terrorism and anything that relates to real-world harm, over to full-time employees because it can’t provide the same mental health support to contractors working remotely.” (Forbes article)

Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook is hiring FT moderators, without sharing any specifics.

Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that the content moderation work was tough; and he even compared the profession to frontline workers like the police or health care workers. Emphasising on the need to moderate content with an urgency.

Why did Facebook give the jobs to contract workers in the first place? If the concern for human beings in general was genuine, why did they not ensure these contract workers were taken care of since Day ONE?

Why isn’t their CSR department not involved in the state of their contract employees? How active is their employee volunteering?

If the job is that serious, why aren’t the salaries much higher?

Freshers with no training, from India and other developing countries are being recruited to moderate highly disturbing and violent content. How did they decide these youth in their early twenties are mentally and emotionally mature to moderate dark and horrific content?

Content Moderation has been a secretive profession for a long time. Now, with over 2.45 billion active Facebook users, is 15,000 content moderators enough for a huge organisation as this? Shouldn’t the workload reduce for each content moderator to not have to rush it?

Casey Newton, Verge journalist who exposed the pathetic state of the content moderation industry, mentioned in a Q&A session in San Francisco that this mental health crisis was highlighted only after it became a white man’s problem. He had coined the headline to get America’s attention, specially detailing about the white workers condition.

I don’t have anything against Facebook; this includes giants like Google and Microsoft among others; this is appalling. Unless companies stop playing God, this will get worse. You can keep changing your PR narrative, but the fact is, lives are being destroyed in the name of employment and building a “caring” brand.

I also wonder what can PR do in this case? PR is not to cover up inefficiencies. It is to highlight change and transformation for the betterment of all living.

The workplace should not be a burden. It should aid in honing mankind’s abilities for every other sphere of life. Not at this rate where people are treated as cattle and led to be drained out of their identity.

Can we hope for a better tomorrow? I’d rather have a great today than worry about tomorrow. This has gone on far too long. It will take everyone to effect change. Content Moderation should be a responsibility of the public as well.

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