Working as a Facebook content moderator sounds like an absolutely nightmarish experience.
A new report from The Verge details the allegedly poor working conditions at Cognizant, a Facebook client where employees moderate content for the social media site. The job, which often involves dredging through videos depicting horrifying murders and other harmful content, has reportedly left workers experiencing anxiety attacks on the job and with secondary traumatic stress.
In addition, bosses at Cognizant reportedly "micromanage content moderators' every bathroom and prayer break," and workers describe long lines for the bathroom because "hundreds of employees share just one urinal and two stalls in the men's room," as well as an environment where "employees can be fired after making just a handful of errors a week." Two former employees of the Arizona company told The Verge they have experienced PTSD.
On employee told The Verge that because people who are fired frequently threaten to come back and physically harm their colleagues, he has started bringing a gun to work. Bob Duncan, the head of Cognizant's North American content moderation, said this would have been in violation of company policy.
The Cognizant work experience is so terrible, employees also told The Verge, that they often "cope by telling dark jokes about committing suicide, then smoke weed during breaks to numb their emotions." Employees have also reportedly frequently been found having sex at work.
Sifting through conspiracy theory content is part of the job as well, and some employees expressed concern that this was actually leading workers to buy into the theories. "I no longer believe 9/11 was a terrorist attack,” said one moderator, while another reportedly came to believe the Holocaust was a hoax.
These staffers are reportedly paid about $28,000 per year, compared to the average Facebook employee's salary of $240,000. Read more at The Verge.