May 21, 2019

Facebook Content Reviewers Get Wage Hike, More Counseling

14 May 2019, 07:39 | Hattie Nash

Facebook increases pay for contractors and content moderators

Facebook raises minimum wages for U.S. contract workers to $20/hour

"The work we do to connect people around the world would not be possible without the talented and dedicated people who do contract work at Facebook", reads the blog post.

Small toy figures are seen in front of Facebook logo in this illustration picture, April 8, 2019.

The company raised its minimum wage to $20 per hour in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Washington D.C. and to $18 per hour in Seattle.

Tech giants don't include moderators or contractors such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers in their official head count of full-time employees, which for Facebook stood at 37,700 worldwide at the end of March. In Seattle, they'll see $18 per hour.

In 2015, Facebook set a minimum wage standard of $15 for contract workers and required them to receive benefits such as parental leave and at least 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation.

"We're working to develop similar standards for other countries", Chandra and Gale said.

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"In the years since, it's become clear that $15 per hour doesn't meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate".

Silicon Valley is under pressure to close the income gap given California's high cost of living.

This is up from a base wage of $15 an hour for those who do a "do a substantial amount of work with [Facebook]".

"Their work is critical to keeping our community safe, and it is often hard", Facebook vice presidents Janelle Gale and Arun Chandra said in a joint online post.

"It is more about competing in a very tight labor market which is dictating the amount of money companies are willing to pay then the set state minimum wage". They also reported being unable to access counseling or mental-health services through their employer, a tech services provider called Cognizant hired by Facebook. A documentary past year showed that in the Philippines, Facebook content moderators earn the equivalent of about $1 to $3 a day.

A number of media reports, however, have focused attention on the conditions under which reviewers, employed by third party contractors including Genpact and Wipro Ltd, work.

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Reuters reported in February that contract employees in India, part of a 1,600-member team at Genpact monitoring nudity and pornography on Facebook and Instagram, view 2,000 posts in an eight-hour shift, which amounts to nearly four a minute.

Beyond higher pay, all vendors must provide on-site counseling during all operating hours, not just during parts of certain shifts. We'll do these surveys twice a year and use the results to shape our programs and practices.

"Content review at our size can be challenging and we know we have more work to do", the company concluded in its blog post.

Facebook will begin formal, unannounced checks at vendor job sites along with informal audits of conditions, according to Chandra and Gale.

The wage hike also extends to other contractors, with the company committing to pay a living wage across the USA for all of its contractors, and even higher wages for content reviewers.

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