An ex-Facebook employee revealed his horrific experience working as a content moderator – where he says he spent eight hours a day looking at “all the worst things that people post online so that you don’t have to see it.”
The man, who remained anonymous, opened up to VICE about the gut-wrenching types of content he faced daily. From dead bodies and murders to severe animal cruelty that included dogs being barbecued alive - as well as explicit sexual videos, the ex-employee claimed that his day was made up of at least “five to ten per cent” of “traumatising” images and videos.
He recalled his reaction to the first piece of graphic content he came across, “I can remember the first one –that was like a wow moment.
“I got this one, one day and it’s a super close-up shot of a man just jerking off.
“But, I didn’t want to reach forward, put my hand into that space to press the buttons to delete it”, he said, before explaining how a colleague had to intervene, “She picked up a packet of wet wipes off another desk. She cleaned all the desk, the keyboard and her own hands before she went back to her desk.”
“Thinking about that later, I realised that we really do feel touched by what you see”, he said.
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The man explained the psychological challenges during his time at Facebook. His job impacted his mental well-being much more than he thought it would. Due to non-disclosure agreements, he wasn’t allowed to speak to anybody about his work and he was also consistently told not to tell people what he did for a living.
He worked the evening rota (18:00 - 02:00) and revealed how he’d wake up a few hours later reflecting on a decision that he made that night, “You remember some image that you had seen, and you suddenly realise there was a naked girl on one side – or an ISIS flag in the background, so now it should have been deleted under the terrorism policy”, he explained.
He went on to claim that “Facebook denies that anybody could ever get PTSD.”
In an alleged recording of an internal meeting with an employee, Mark Zuckerberg apparently dismissed the mental health issue and deemed it “a little bit overdramatic.”
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When asked about support within the Facebook team, he explained how there was a wellness team on site that was responsible for resilience training and mental health issues.