In an interesting twist, a number of content moderators at Facebook decided to protest the platform’s response to a post that was made by the US president Donald Trump with regards to the ongoing police brutality protesters.
This group is made up of five former moderators and four current moderators who’ve chosen to remain anonymous. They were interviewed by Medium where they expressed that the company has shown a complete lack of initiative when it comes to dealing with the President’s most recent Facebook posts in response to the protests. According to the moderators, the post had threatening elements that could incite violence.
The moderators expressed disappointment in Facebook’s leadership for not holding the President accountable for his words, as that made them feel as though protesting would be discouraged. The employees went on to blast the organization for failing to stand behind its black employees.
The moderator’s views seemed to mirror those of Facebook employees earlier in the week, who blasted the company’s CEO for not taking action against the President for his post.
In case you’re wondering, Facebook moderation is one of the most intense positions within the organization, because employees have to go through some of the most grueling content on the platform for hours and hours on end. These stressful and harrowing working conditions can and have been shown to lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However, the most telling detail about working on Facebook as a moderator is the fact that these people have to sign non-disclosure agreements so there’s no telling what they really see or go through because they can’t talk about it with anyone. Not only that, but these agreements don’t even allow them to walk out with other Facebook employees.
Due to a number of limitations that include micro-management from the upper management levels, to a lack of network or platform to speak and the fact that their positions give them little in the way of financial security, these Facebook moderators cannot afford to stage a walk-out.
They also face the possibility of being fined, on top of losing their income, should they decide to join their fellow staffers. So, in reality, they’re in a really hard place right now.
According to the post by Medium, Facebook’s content moderators feel especially pressured by the company’s top-level leadership to conform and this goes for moderators in different parts of the world. The latter data is according to the FoxGlove nonprofit which circulated a statement for the moderators to sign.
Moderators are required to uphold the platform’s content policies, but this time around those same policies clash with their personal values, so they feel like they have to make some really tough choices. Instead of walking out with other Facebook employees, which would place their livelihoods in jeopardy, they’ve chosen to speak out while remaining anonymous.
When asked for a comment, Facebook did not respond.