“Content review at our size can be challenging and we know we have more work to do,” Facebook’s Janelle Gale, vice president of human resources, and Arun Chandra, vice president of scaled operations, said in a statement. “We’re committed to supporting our content reviewers in a way that puts their well-being first and we will continue to share steps forward on this important topic.”
Last week, The Post chronicled a campaign by roughly a dozen moderators who are speaking up about poor working conditions, including insufficient counseling and pay cuts. They’ve also taken their grievances to their employer, Accenture. The contractors hadn’t spoken previously about their organizing, but used Facebook’s internal communication system, Facebook Workplace, where thousands of employees have seen or commented on the messages.
In 2015, Facebook introduced a $15 minimum wage. But on Monday, the company said that is has “become clear that $15 per hour doesn’t meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate.” Contractor wages are being raised to a minimum of $20 per hour in the San Francisco Bay area, New York and Washington, D.C., as well as $18 per hour in Seattle. The changes will take effect in summer 2020, and Facebook is planning similar standards for contractors in other countries.
Content reviewers in the Bay Area, New York City and Washington will see an even higher pay boost, to at least $22 per hour. Seattle reviewers will get $20 per hour while workers in other U.S. cities will get $18 per hour.
“Their work is critical to keeping our community safe, and it’s often difficult,” Gale and Chandra said.
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. By some estimates, contractors make up at least 40 percent of the workforce at large Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Google.
Beyond higher pay, all vendors must provide on-site counseling during all operating hours, not just during parts of certain shifts. Facebook is also working with vendors on well-being and resiliency training. Reviewers can also customize how they view certain content, like temporarily blurring graphic images by default before looking at them.
“We made these changes after hearing feedback that reviewers want more control over how they see content that can be challenging,” Facebook said.
Elizabeth Dwoskin contributed to this report.