Facebook content moderators in Europe and the US are calling on the company to put an end to overly restrictive nondisclosure agreements that discourage people from speaking out about working conditions. In a letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and the CEOs of Covalen and Accenture, moderators say these NDAs aren’t limited to user data and help perpetuate a culture of “excessive secrecy.”
“Despite the company’s best efforts to keep us quiet, we write to demand the company’s culture of fear and excessive secrecy ends today,” the moderators write. “No NDA can lawfully prevent us from speaking out about our working conditions.”
The news comes amid escalating tension between the company and its contract content moderators in Ireland. In May, a moderator named Isabella Plunkett testified before a parliamentary committee to try to push for legislative change.
“The content that is moderated is awful,” she said. “It would affect anyone … To help, they offer us wellness coaches. These people mean really well, but they are not doctors. They suggest karaoke and painting, but frankly, one does not always feel like singing, after having seen someone be battered to bits.”
The letter asks that the company give moderators regular access to clinical psychiatrists and psychologists. “Imagine watching hours of violent content or children abuse online as part of your day to day work,” they write. “You cannot be left unscathed. This job must not cost us our mental health.”
Moderators also want to be brought in-house, saying the current system makes them second-class citizens. They’re calling on the company to give them the same pay and benefits as full-time Facebook moderators.
The letter currently has 60 signatures from moderators in Dublin, Lisbon, and Barcelona — as well as parts of the US. It was written in collaboration with Foxglove, a UK nonprofit focused on tech justice. ReadMore
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