Facebook and its content moderators

 

Sir, – It is disturbing to learn of Facebook’s inhumane treatment of its content moderators, arguably its most critical staff resource (“Una Mullally: “Facebook experts at shrugging off culpability”, Opinion & Analysis, November 23rd).

In treating these vital workers as contractors rather than granting them employee status, Facebook is telling the world that it values maximising profits more than its moderators undertaking the most challenging work of its entire enterprise.

It is very disappointing that Facebook as a “new economy” firm should be prioritising shareholder value maximisation over the well-being of its key workers.

Last year 181 chief executives of America’s largest corporations and members of the influential Business Roundtable discarded a long-time policy statement that defined a corporation’s principal purpose as maximising shareholder return. Instead, the CEOs adopted a new statement on the purpose of a corporation, declaring that companies should serve not only their shareholders, but also their other stakeholders, including their workers.

Rather than Facebook seeking to obfuscate its indefensible behaviour by engaging in the sleight of hand as so well illustrated by Una Mullally in her piece, the board of Facebook needs to jettison its 20th-century mindset of prioritising the maximisation of profits at any cost and embrace the purpose laid out last year by the CEOs of the Business Roundtable. It can immediately demonstrate its commitment to that purpose by treating its content moderators with dignity and respect and granting them employee status. – Yours, etc,

Prof LOUIS BRENNAN,

Trinity Business School,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.