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Facebook to Increase the Wages of its Content Moderators

On Monday, in a bid to increase employee satisfaction and decrease work-related stress resulting from engagement with offensive content on the platform, Facebook announced its plan to boost pay and support programmes for US contract workers in high-cost areas.

“In the years since [2015], it’s become clear that $15 per hour doesn’t meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate,” said Facebook Vice Presidents Janelle Gale and Arun Chandra.

If the plan, currently scheduled for implementation in mid-2020, goes through, content reviewers living in such expensive locations as New York City, Washington (DC), and the San Francisco Bay area will be paid no less than $22 per hour, or $7 more than in 2015. Pay hikes will also be instituted elsewhere, yet not to the same degree.

Even though employees tasked with moderating flagged content (both full-time Facebook employees and those contracted through vendors) already receive health care benefits and access to on-site counsellors, the company has plans to extend these services to a significant degree.

Given the frequently gruelling nature of reviewing social media content on-line, Facebook now plans to provide its employees working on the assessment of objectionable posts with higher pay and better access to counseling. Image: publicdomainpictures.net, CC0 Public Domain

“We’re now requiring all vendor partners to provide on-site counselling during all hours of operations, not just certain hours of each shift,” Chandra and Gale said.

The new plan is likely a response to criticism related to allegedly low pay and working conditions which sometimes lead employees to develop post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms.

In addition to collaborating with vendors regarding training in well-being, Facebook will also provide content reviewers with additional functions to protect their mental health, such as the feature that blurs graphic images, or turns them black and white, by default, thereby allowing employees a moment to collect themselves prior to engaging.

To ensure that all of its employees receive health care services which meet the standards of the US Affordable Care Act, as well as overtime and premiums for night or weekend shifts, the company will also conduct unannounced inspections at vendor job sites.

According to Chandra and Gale, Facebook also has plans to develop similar standards for other counties in the future.

Source: phys.org, pressdemocrat.com


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