Paedophilia, necrophilia, beheadings, suicides, etc. I left [because] I value my sanity.
A Facebook moderator explaining why he quit his job monitoring content on the social network. Via The Daily Telegraph, The dark side of Facebook.
Background: Facebook outsources much of its content moderation around the world. There are privacy concerns, of course, but here’s how it generally works:
Last month, 21-year-old Amine Derkaoui gave an interview to Gawker, an American media outlet. Derkaoui had spent three weeks working in Morocco for oDesk, one of the outsourcing companies used by Facebook. His job, for which he claimed he was paid around $1 an hour, involved moderating photos and posts flagged as unsuitable by other users.
“It must be the worst salary paid by Facebook,” he told The Daily Telegraph this week. “And the job itself was very upsetting – no one likes to see a human cut into pieces every day.”
Derkaoui is not exaggerating. An articulate man, he described images of animal abuse, butchered bodies and videos of fights. Other moderators, mainly young, well-educated people working in Asia, Africa and Central America, have similar stories…
…Of course, not all of the unsuitable material on the site is so graphic. Facebook operates a fascinatingly strict set of guidelines determining what should be deleted. Pictures of naked private parts, drugs (apart from marijuana) and sexual activity (apart from foreplay) are all banned. Male nipples are OK, but naked breastfeeding is not. Photographs of bodily fluids (except semen) are allowed, but not if a human being is also shown. Photoshopped images are fine, but not if they show someone in a negative light.
Once something is reported by a user, the moderator sitting at his computer in Morocco or Mexico has three options: delete it; ignore it; or escalate it, which refers it back to a Facebook employee in California (who will, if necessary, report it to the authorities).