In this day and age of ever-expanding social media prevalence, Facebook outsourced its site comment moderation to a private company called Cognizant which recently saw one of its employees, a US Coast Guard veteran, die at work recently.
Located in Tampa, Florida, Cognizant is just one of many sites Facebook uses to attempt to delete comments, videos, and accounts that violate their community guideline standards. The problem is that the job itself pays very little and yet comes with a high price tag for employees.
PTSD, & Bed Bugs
Amidst issues with overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder related to all the terrible things moderators have to comb through and flag for removal from Facebook, many contractors have now broken their non-disclosure agreements to complain of horrid working conditions which include unsanitary bathrooms, and even bed bugs.
While bed bugs can appear virtually anywhere people congregate, they do tend to make return visits once they’re discovered, which is exactly what happened at the content moderation site. Bed bugs were reported there multiple times, and many employees were concerned they might take them home with them after their shift.
False Promises and Let-Downs
Many contractors say they were promised bonuses and promotions for doing comment moderation work, but once they were there they lamented the feeling they got which is that they could be fired at a moment’s notice. Working full-time a contractor could expect to make a little over $2,400 before taxes, and no one’s quite sure if they received any health benefits.
There was no memorial service for the employee who passed while he was at work, but some contractors say he was mentioned in pre-shift “huddles” between workers and supervisors.
Perhaps this illustrates the continued doubts in the new “gig” economy, which is just a cute way of saying everyone’s a contractor with no benefits who can be jettisoned at will without second thought. That is, of course, if you don’t go onto the next life while you’re on the job someday.
Cracks in the Economy
While the stock market continues to rise, many shopping malls and other retail stores have been closing in record numbers in 2019 across America, leaving fewer work options even for college graduates, who will undoubtedly choose to work in less-than-desirable circumstances to simply be able to pay their monthly bills.
And with all of the recent censorship on YouTube and Facebook with other social media platforms like Pinterest and Twitter, it’s disappointing for Facebook to realize that not even Cognizant is reaching their expected 98% effectiveness in removing questionable content.
So for now, the bad conditions may well continue until Cognizant loses its contract with Facebook. Until then, all Cognizant employees are encouraged to seek counseling for any health issues related to the material they have seen at work.
Let’s hope this trend doesn’t continue.