There have been accounts before about the ghastly online material Facebook’s content moderators are exposed to as they police the service. A new story by The Verge provides more vivid examples of unpleasantness of the job. Content moderators, most of whom are hired as contractors by Facebook, told the publication of being traumatized by watching videos of murders and violence posted to the social network. They spoke of receiving too short breaks, and using drugs and joking about suicide to cope with the grim reality of their jobs.
Some said they came to believe in flat-earth conspiracy theories and other untruths they were charged with removing from Facebook. In the past year, Facebook has begun hiring thousands more content moderators in response to a barrage of criticism about disinformation and other objectionable material circulating on the service. Facebook said it is expanding this area carefully, but The Verge’s report is a timely reminder that there is an emotional toll to a job that could be vital to the future of Facebook.