Facebook plans pay boost for content moderators

San Francisco (AFP) –


Facebook on Monday said it will boost pay and support programs for US contract workers hammered by the stress of having to review offensive content flagged at the social network.

The changes come as part of a move by the leading social network to increase wages above the level it set in 2015 for contractors of $15 an hour in high-cost areas and to address concerns of duress being faced by its numerous content reviewers.

Contract content reviewers living in New York City; Washington, DC; and the San Francisco Bay area where costs of living are high will be paid at least $22 hourly.

Those working in Seattle will be paid $20 per hour, while those living in other US metropolitan locations will get hourly wages of at least $18, according to the leading social network.

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

Facebook is bolstering counseling and other "well-being" resources available to content reviewers, whether they are employed full-time by the social network or contracted through vendors.

Content reviewers already get health care benefits and access to counselors at work sites.

"We're now requiring all vendor partners to provide on-site counseling during all hours of operations, not just certain hours of each shift," Chandra and Gale said.

- Blurring the bad -

Facebook is working with vendors to provide training in well-being, and is adding features such as allowing reviewers to have graphic images blurred by default until they are ready to peer at the content, according to Chandra and Gale.

The California-based social network intended to foster consistency among its vendors around the world with requirements such as overtime and premiums for night or weekend shifts, as well as healthcare that meet standards of the US Affordable Care Act.

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

The social network contracts with outside companies for an array of services, such as meals or transportation for employees.

Facebook said that next year it will increase hourly minimum pay for all contracted workers in cities with a high cost of living.

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

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.

"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," Chandra and Gale said.