Facebook content moderators have reportedly been ordered to watch more child abuse just weeks after the company settled a lawsuit with thousands who developed PTSD on the job

Mark Zuckerberg

  • Facebook content moderators employed by Accenture have been ordered to review an extra 48 minutes of child abuse per day, The Intercept reported Thursday.
  • Accenture told hundreds of moderators in emails that, under its renegotiated contract with Facebook, they’d now need to look at 6.3 hours of “child exploitation imagery” instead of 5.5, according to The Intercept.
  • The change comes barely a month after Facebook agreed to pay $52 million to moderators in a lawsuit brought by those who developed mental-health conditions on the job.
  • Facebook and the contracting companies it works with have faced intense criticism over working conditions for moderators who review violent and toxic content, particularly following reporting from The Verge in early 2019. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook content moderators employed by contracting firm Accenture have been told they’ll need to watch nearly an hour more of child abuse content per day in order to meet their quotas, The Intercept reported on Thursday.

In a series of emails sent in late May and early June, Accenture said moderators responsible for reviewing “child exploitation imagery” for Facebook would, under a renewed contract between the companies, need to review 6.3 hours of content per day instead of 5.5 hours, according to The Intercept.

The changes will affect at least hundreds of Facebook’s outsourced moderators, who review the questionable content to determine whether it violates the social media company’s policies and should be removed. The increased workload, according to the emails sent to moderators, are part of Accenture “aligning to our global partners as well as our partners in MVW,” which can be interpreted as a reference to Facebook’s Mountain View, California, office. Further  wording suggested that workers in that office were already viewing 6.3 hours per day, according the emails seen by The Intercept.

Moderators are tasked with viewing some of the most vile content on the internet for hours per day, every day, and Facebook and its partners have come under fire over their treatment of those workers, particularly since The Verge reported last year on low wages and oppressive working conditions for Facebook moderators working for contracting firm Cognizant.

Last month, Facebook agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a former moderator by paying $52 million to current and former moderators who developed mental-health conditions while on the job, as well as agreeing to provide better mental health support for workers.

But the reported increase in production hours seems to run counter to that settlement, as well as best practices around protecting moderators from trauma that stemmed from research Facebook itself commissioned (through a group it co-founded called Technology Coalition).

Both Facebook and Accenture denied to Business Insider that the social media company had instructed Accenture to increase production hours, though neither would elaborate.

“We haven’t increased guidance for production hours with any of our partners,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider, while refusing to comment on the reported contract renewal.

“Facebook hasn’t changed our requirements for working hours. As always, we continue to provide our team members proactive and on-demand resiliency support. Our people are encouraged to use these services at any time, without restriction,” a spokesperson for Accenture told Business Insider.

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