Facebook's Content Review Practices Under Fire

Facebook is responding to criticism that it doesn’t do enough to support the thousands of content reviewers tasked with keeping its platform free of violent images, revenge porn and other disturbing fare.

“There are a lot of questions, misunderstandings and accusations around Facebook’s content review practices … including how we as a company care for and compensate the people behind this important work,” Justin Osofsky, vice president. global operations at Facebook, notes in a new blog post.

Osofsky’s post is a direct response to a new report in The Verge that details the psychological damage Facebook’s army of reviewers endure in exchange for annual salaries of less than $30,000.

Facebook currently pays the salaries of roughly 15,0000 content reviewers, The Verge reports.

Yet, rather than work directly for Facebook, most reviewers work for contracted companies like Accenture, Cognizant, and Genpact. (For its story, The Verge said it spoke with a number of current and former employees of New Jersey-based Cognizant.)

Ironically, Facebook’s current content-review strategy resulted from efforts to address other platform issues, like the spread of revenge porn and political misinformation. 

“Over the past couple of years … we have substantially scaled our investment in safety and security including rapidly growing our content review teams,” Osofsky said on Monday. He described Facebook’s content-review strategy as a work in progress.

“We are committed to working with our partners to demand a high level of support for their employees,” Osofsky said.

The executive outlined several steps Facebook is taking (and plans to take) in order to support content reviewers, like only entering into contracts that “explicitly require good facilities, wellness breaks for employees and resiliency support.”

Additionally, Osofsky said Facebook’s partner management teams regularly visit its partner sites to observe their workplaces and hold focus groups.

Moving forward, Osofsky also said Facebook plans to put into place a regular compliance and audit process for all of its outsourced partners.
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