Give us better Covid protection: Moderators tell Facebook

More than 200 Facebook content moderators have written a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, saying the decision to ask them to get to work to maintain Facebooks profits during the pandemic has put their lives at risk.

“After months of allowing content moderators to work from home, faced with intense pressure to keep Facebook free of hate and disinformation, you have forced us back to the office,” they wrote in an open letter.

“Moderators who secure a doctors’ note about a personal COVID risk have been excused from attending in person. Moderators with vulnerable relatives, who might die were they to contract COVID from us, have not”. 

They claim that the Facebook management has needlessly put their lives at risk by forcing them back into the office, even as full-time employees work from home until July 2021.

On October 12, content moderators working for the third-party contracting firm Accenture in Austin, Texas were asked to return to the office, reports The Verge. 

“Despite vast sums flowing to each of you as corporate executives, you have refused moderators hazard pay. A content moderator at Accenture’s office in Austin, Texas generally earns $18/hour,” the moderators wrote in the letter. 

“Facebook should bring the content moderation workforce in house, giving us the same rights and benefits as full Facebook staff,” the letter read.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We appreciate the valuable work content reviewers do and we prioritize their health and safety”. 

‘”All of them have access to health care and confidential wellbeing resources from their first day of employment, and Facebook has exceeded health guidance on keeping facilities safe for any in-office work.”

‘The letter said: “Facebook needs us. It is time that you acknowledged this and valued our work. To sacrifice our health and safety for profit is immoral”.