"Most Brutal Job": Facebook Apparently Asked Employees to Report to Office Amid the Pandemic

Over 200 Facebook content moderators have signed an open letter, stating how they easily have the most brutal job in the company and demanding a change within its work culture. Facebook has been accused of forcing them to work back at the office despite the coronavirus pandemic's alarming concern. 

As the BBC reported, the employees working as content moderators believe that Facebook is 'needlessly risking lives' to maintain the profit. Mark Zuckerberg, the tech firm boss, has nearly 'doubled his fortune' during the pandemic, racking up a total of $100 billion. 

"The pandemic has been good for Facebook. More than 3 billion people have now joined Facebook services, creating more demand for our work than ever," the letter reads. 

Moderating content has been one of the most critical cornerstones on Facebook. Besides the 'psychologically toxic environment,' content moderators had increasing targets during the pandemic with slim-to-none additional support. 

The letter demands Facebook to take more responsibility for their actions by putting their employees' health as a priority and continuing working at home. Even if moderators are to risk their lives, Facebook should at least offer a hazard pay scheme of 1.5 times their usual wage. Ending outsourcing is also one of the demands, as well as providing health and psychiatric care.

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Contradicting Claim

However, Facebook has denied the accusation. 

Quoting the BBC, a Facebook spokesperson said that a private and internal dialogue about the matter had been held. 

"While we believe in having an open internal dialogue, these discussions need to be honest."

Facebook announced that the firm allowed its workers to work from home from last August until 2021. However, the social media giant depends on individual contractors to help them remove contents that violate Facebook's community standards. This includes child pornography, self-harm, spam, and viral disinformations. 

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Not the First Time 

This is not the first time Facebook has an internal problem with its moderators.

After nine months of regularly moderating pictures and videos of rape, murder, and suicide, former moderator Selena Scola sued her employers for its failure to provide a safe workplace in 2018. Scola was joined later by her colleagues, who carry the same burden. 

As The Verge reported, the moderators' class-action lawsuit caused a $52m loss on Facebook. Facebook paid a big chunk of money for moderators who developed severe PTSD on the job.

The lawsuit covers California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida workers who have been working since 2015. A minimum of $1,000 was set to be paid, plus additional funds if it's proved that they developed PTSD or any form of mental illness on the job. In some severe cases, a moderator could get a $6,000 settlement. 

"We're committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future," Facebook's statement reads. 

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