CONTENT WARNING: This blog post, and the story it links to, include descriptions of violent abuse of humans and animals.
Last year, so many organ harvesting videos were being uploaded to Facebook, they couldn't keep up.
Facebook content moderators who are exposed to this material repeatedly are experiencing serious mental health trauma. One recently died.
Casey Newton at the Verge wrote in February about the secret lives of Facebook contractors, and criticism of Facebook's inability to prevent platform abuses has led the company to expand its safety and security workforce around the world to 30,000 people.
From Casey's latest Verge piece:
About half of those are content moderators, and the vast majority are contractors hired through a handful of large professional services firms. In 2017, Facebook began opening content moderation sites in American cities including Phoenix, Austin, and Tampa. The goal was to improve the accuracy of moderation decisions by entrusting them to people more familiar with American culture and slang.
Cognizant received a two-year, $200 million contract from Facebook to do the work, according to a former employee familiar with the matter. But in return for policing the boundaries of free expression on one of the internet’s largest platforms, individual contractors in North America make as little as $28,800 a year. They receive two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch each day, along with nine minutes per day of “wellness” time that they can use when they feel overwhelmed by the emotional toll of the job. After regular exposure to graphic violence and child exploitation, many workers are subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.
The PTSD and related disorders are the result of repeated exposure to no-bullshit living horror.
Here's an example of the content they witness.
In June 2018, a month into his job, Facebook began seeing a rash of videos that depicted organs being harvested from children. So many graphic videos were reported that they could not be contained in Speagle’s queue.
“I was getting the brunt of it, but it was leaking into everything else,” Speagle said. “It was mass panic. All the SMEs had to rush in there and try to help people. They were freaking out — they couldn’t handle it. People were crying, breaking down, throwing up. It was like one of those horror movies. Nobody’s prepared to see a little girl have her organs taken out while she’s still alive and screaming.” Moderators were told they had to watch at least 15 to 30 seconds of each video.
Delete Facebook now.