CPL has ‘strong relationship’ with Facebook despite Channel 4 documentary

‘Dispatches’ showed staff being told not to remove extreme, graphic content from site

CPL Resources chief executive and co-founder Anne Heraty:  ‘We’re working with Facebook to make sure the internet is a safe place for people who want to share information’

CPL Resources chief executive and co-founder Anne Heraty: ‘We’re working with Facebook to make sure the internet is a safe place for people who want to share information’

 

Irish recruitment group CPL Resources has a “strong relationship” with Facebook, and has retained the contract to moderate content for the tech giant despite controversial revelations in a Channel 4 documentary earlier this year.

Over a six-week period between March and April, a reporter with the Dispatches documentary attended training sessions and filmed conversations in the CPL offices in Dublin.

The documentary showed staff being instructed not to remove extreme, abusive and graphic content from Facebook even when it violated the social media company’s guidelines.

After the documentary was released, Facebook said it was carrying out an internal investigation with CPL to establish how the “gaps between our policies and values and the training given by CPL staff came about”.

CPL failed to address the pressure it came under in its results published last month, but chief executive and co-founder Anne Heraty answered questions on the matter from reporters following Monday’s annual general meeting.

“Matters that we had to deal with, we dealt with,” she said. “Our business has continued as usual. We reviewed the matters that were raised along with Facebook and they’ve now been dealt with.

“Work is continuing with Facebook and we’re working with Facebook to make sure the internet is a safe place for people who want to share information. That’s the whole objective as content moderators.”

Cost involved

Ms Heraty said there was a cost involved in the review for CPL but would not disclose the figure.

“Naturally we had to incur some costs in terms of reviewing matters, but that’s been dealt with,” she said. “It’s normal cost of business costs. If it were an exceptional cost it would have been mentioned.

Life goes on. You deal with things and then you move past them

“Our relationship with Facebook is strong. We continue to work with them to make sure our content moderators are doing the best possible job.”

CPL chairman John Hennessy said the review carried out with Facebook was “normal, par for the course stuff”.

“Life goes on,” he said. “We’re working with Facebook on a day-to-day basis. You deal with things and then you move past them. This is the kind of thing you do with your significant clients all the time.

“You’re constantly reviewing what you’re doing with them. So there’s an ongoing cost in doing that with all clients as issues arise and things need to be dealt with. It’s very normal and very par for the course stuff.”

Influx of jobs

Ms Heraty also addressed Brexit, and said CPL had so far enjoyed “a slight bounce” in its business, and particularly in terms of an influx of jobs in the financial services sector.

“The other way Brexit impacts us is our business in the UK, so anything that impacts their economy impacts us,” she said. “Also the small bit of currency fluctuation.”

At Monday’s agm, shareholders approved a final dividend of 7.15 cent per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 13.5 cent per share, an increase of 17 per cent. It will see Ms Heraty receive just over €1 million in total dividend for the year on the back of her 29.5 per cent stake in the company. Her husband, fellow director Paul Carroll, holds a 5.9 per cent stake in the business, delivering a total dividend of €218,000.

Last month CPL Resources reported revenues in excess of €522 million for the year ended June 30th, 2018.