Facebook content moderators demand more workplace protections

More than 200 content moderators for Facebook are demanding increased coronavirus protections in the workplace, saying they are being forced to return to offices amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The letter, signed by some Facebook employees, was addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as well as the chief executives of Accenture and CPL, the two companies contracted by the social media giant for content moderation.

“Before the pandemic, content moderation was easily Facebook’s most brutal job,” the workers wrote in Wednesday’s letter. “Now, on top of work that is psychologically toxic, holding onto the job means walking into a hot zone. In several offices, multiple COVID cases have occurred on the floor.”

A contractor tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after content moderators working for Accenture were asked to return to their offices last month in Austin, Texas, The Intercept reported, citing an internal email.

The workers are now calling on Facebook and its contracting partners to improve safety and working conditions, allow moderators who live with at-risk individuals to stay home and provide hazard pay to those who return to offices.

They also reiterated demands for Facebook to stop outsourcing content moderation.