The most depressing job on the internet
It’s easy to get angry at social media companies when they make the wrong decision about allowing or banning a particular piece of content. But last night’s Channel 4 documentary
made me spare a thought for the poor content moderators at Facebook.
Working for a third-party company in Dublin, the contractors the programme focused on spend their days working through the thousands of reports Facebook receives each day.
Here’s why I feel for them:
- They have to look at the absolute worst of the internet all day, every day. Violence, abuse, hatred in all its forms – if they’re going to clean it up, they have to see it all. I hope they have access to psychological support; they must either become emotionally numb or bottle up all sorts of torment for later.
- They have very little room for their own judgment. Facebook’s rules on what stays and what goes are very strict. Some content that a common sense reading would say should be banned, has to stay up on a technicality.
- Unless an act of harm is being live-streamed, they can’t report it to the authorities. Imagine having that on your conscience – seeing a vulnerable person suffering and not being able to make sure they get the help they need.
Content moderators have one of the toughest jobs on the internet - and probably the most depressing. So next time you report some inappropriate content, spare a thought for the poor human who has to review it. It probably isn’t their fault if they make the wrong decision.