Is Content Moderation a Career Anyone Aspires To?

We hear a lot about how social media platforms should do a better job of content moderation, and keep us from having to see things we don’t want to see. Have we considered whether anyone actually wants that job?

Techdirt’s Mike Masnick makes an interesting point in a recent article –

Before Demanding Internet Companies ‘Hire More Moderators,’ Perhaps We Should Look At How Awful The Job Is

In it he talks about recent revelations of appalling working conditions in one of the third parties Facebook is using for the job, but it also goes beyond that. As he says:

Both of these things can be true:

  1. Facebook should do a much better job with the working conditions for its moderators… and

  2. Continually demanding that Facebook (and others) somehow present only a perfect, squeaky clean internet is creating incentives for this rapid and chaotic hiring spree that creates more and more problems.

He’s right, of course. Yes, Facebook and it’s partners should be held accountable for much of what was revealed. It’s unacceptable. But, we also have to acknowledge that even under the best of conditions, the job sucks. You spend all day, every day, looking at stuff that the rest of us don’t want to see. What kind of damage does that do to someone’s mental and physical health? It’s likely to be massive. And yet, the public seems to be fine with Facebook hiring even more people to do this.

I mean, sure all social media companies should just keep hiring more people until they have enough to review every piece of content for “bad stuff” before I see it. As long as those hires are other people, who get to absorb all the dirt of the world so it doesn’t touch me!

I don’t believe it’s sustainable. Do you?

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