Facebook contractors tasked with sifting through some of the most heinous and traumatizing content on the internet faced a new hurdle this week when they were told to return to company offices to do their work in person as a pandemic runs rampant around them. Audio obtained by The Intercept suggests that their employer, Accenture, is downplaying the risk of indoor exposure to Covid-19.
When the United States began a patchwork national lockdown in March, Facebook contractors, paid a relatively low hourly wage with few of the generous perks afforded to the company’s full-time staffers, began to feel even more acutely dispensable to the $750 billion company. Beginning this week, as first reported by The Verge, these contractors must now resume working in the same facilities that Facebook’s full-time can safely avoid, having been told that they’ll be permitted to work from home through July 2021. “Based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions about these matters, we are allowing employees to continue voluntarily working from home until July 2021,” a Facebook spokesperson explained to Business Insider.
Facebook has said that the contractors in question, who must wade through so-called priority zero content encompassing the worst of child sexual abuse and graphic violence, can’t safely do this work from home. Three Facebook moderators employed through Accenture who spoke to The Intercept on the condition of anonymity, because they are not permitted to speak with the press, expressed a profound worry that the company, and their ultimate bosses at Facebook HQ, are once again ignoring their safety in the name of keeping the social network running smoothly.
An October 2 virtual meeting, a recording of which was obtained by The Intercept, did little to lessen moderators’ dread over resuming indoor work at