Una Mullally: Facebook experts at shrugging off culpability

Firm does not even directly employ these low-paid workers in their distressing roles

Mark Zuckerberg testifies remotely during the Senate judiciary committee in Washington. Photograph: Bill Clark/Pool/AFP via Getty

Mark Zuckerberg testifies remotely during the Senate judiciary committee in Washington. Photograph: Bill Clark/Pool/AFP via Getty

Last week, an open letter from more than 200 Facebook moderators, including 114 working in Dublin, and addressed to Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, chief executive of CPL/Covalen Anne Herarty, and chief executive of Accenture Julie Sweet, was published.

In this letter, Facebook content moderators wrote to “express our dismay at your decision to risk our lives – and the lives of our colleagues and loved ones – to maintain Facebook’s profits during the pandemic . . . Before the pandemic, content moderation was easily Facebook’s most brutal job. We waded through violence and child abuse for hours on end. Moderators working on child abuse content had targets increased during the pandemic, with no additional support. Now, on top of work that is psychologically toxic, holding on to the job means walking into a hot zone.” 

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