What's Happening In the World?

A forum for creative people.
User avatar
Garrett Gilchrist
Site Admin
Posts: 7463
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:23 am

Re: What's Happening In the World?

Post: # 11068Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Whether you love or hate Donald Trump-he brought a divided country together. Those who hate Donald Trump think he's a psychopathic fascist like Adolf Hitler. Those who like Donald Trump think he's a psychopathic fascist like Adolf Hitler. I for one hope he gets what he deserves😉

Anyway it's been fun to watch him lose and immediately deflate like a balloon

We're a deeply divided country, but whatever side of the political spectrum you fall on, I hope we can all come together and watch Trump fail hilariously while wacky tuba music plays
User avatar
Garrett Gilchrist
Site Admin
Posts: 7463
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:23 am

Re: What's Happening In the World?

Post: # 11150Post Garrett Gilchrist »

“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished. It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.”
— Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times
User avatar
Garrett Gilchrist
Site Admin
Posts: 7463
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:23 am

Re: What's Happening In the World?

Post: # 11159Post Garrett Gilchrist »

https://pluralistic.net/2021/04/02/inno ... m-breakers

Important read about "Digital arm breakers" in the "zombie economy."
User avatar
Garrett Gilchrist
Site Admin
Posts: 7463
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:23 am

Re: What's Happening In the World?

Post: # 11165Post Garrett Gilchrist »

A Facebook content moderator contracted through Accenture in Austin quit this morning with a blistering internal note. Here it is.
I've just resigned after working as a content analyst for Accenture for about two and a half years, and I want to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts that have been bouncing around my head for most of that time. Most of these concern the mental health challenges that content analysts face, but I've also reflected somewhat on the ways that the current system handicaps Facebook itself. This is a job that's impossible not to take home with you. It is common to experience fatigue, weight changes, and intrusive thoughts, and I've heard stories from people on child exploitation queues who started seeing every adult with a child as a potential predator. I know people who went on psychiatric medication for the first time while working as a content analyst and others who self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.

While Facebook has improved certain things in response to public pressure, the wellness program remains inadequate. Although the wellness coaches, in my experience, are excellent at their jobs, the attitude taken by much of leadership is a huge impediment to maintaining mental well-being. Many managers seem to be under the impression that a brain is basically a machine that can be maintained in a straightforward way. If you see something that upsets you, you should be able to deal with it by stepping away and doing a breathing exercise; if the problem is really bad, you can talk to a wellness coach.

This approach has its limits. Taking a few deep breaths or visualizing a calm beach might allow you to get back to work, but it doesn't do a lot for stress induced insomnia after you get home. Wellness coaches are great, but their time is limited and seeing one on short notice, particularly during a global pandemic, can be difficult. The real issue, however, isn't the lingering impact of individual images, it's the accretion of thousands over time. Content analysts are paid to look at the worst of humanity for eight hours a day. We're the tonsils of the internet, a constantly bombarded first line of defense against potential trauma to the userbase.

The response that's given to this is that it is that it is the responsibility of the worker to assess their own ability to continue at the job and to resign if necessary. Our NDA makes this difficult for a couple of reasons.

1) Most people figure out their mental state through a combination of introspection and outside feedback. While you can, of course, talk to your fellow workers, speaking to your loved ones is a vital part of figuring out what is going on with yourself. (As well, of course, with dealing with mental health problems in the first place.)
2) Many people, especially people with families, can't leave this job without having another one lined up. Even if you do have a few months of savings, it can be difficult to build a resume when you aren't really able to talk about your most recent job.

It's not really clear to me what the function of the NDA is. Part of it is that I don't really know exactly what it says. During onboarding we were given a vague general description of what counted as a violation, and, despite asking for it a number of times over the past couple of years, I haven't been able to access a document to examine since I first signed it.

The other part is that I'm not sure exactly why we need to keep so much confidential. We don't deal with a ton of information that isn't already available to the public, and the stuff that really is sensitive can be enumerated specifically rather than captured by a blanket policy that hinders content analysts in the ways I've described above.

With all this in mind, here are a few proposals:

1) Give managers training that impresses upon them the fact that mental health can't be dealt with mechanically.
2) Give analysts more wellness time; further, write this into contracts so that we don't have to deal with the frequent informal policy changes that I've experienced throughout my time here.
3) Allow content analysts to claim therapy as an expense or give vouchers covering the cost of therapy.
4) Relax the NDA
5) This one is in my mind the most important: Reduce the amount of time that people spend in safety queues. All workers should have the option to move to another queue every six months. Further, they shouldn't spend all of their work time in these queues. They should be trained on something else so that they only spend about half of their work hours on safety.

I want to move now to how the current system is bad not only for content analysts but for Facebook itself.

The big problem here is the division of labor. Those who spend the most time in the queues have the least input as to policy. Analysts are able to raise issues to QAs who can then raise them to Facebook FTEs. It can take months for issues to be addressed, if they are addressed at all. The worst part is that doing the common sense thing and implementing the spirit of the policy, rather than the letter, can have a negative effect on your quality score. I often think about how there were several months during my tenure when most photographs of mutilated animals were allowed on the platform without a warning screen due to a carelessly worded policy "clarification" and there was nothing we could do about it.

I have two suggestions here:

1) Content analysts should be able to communicate directly with those responsible for designing policy. Ideally there should be regularly scheduled meetings between analysts and policy designers in addition to avenues for communication in case of emergencies.
2) There ought to be a path by which content analysts can be promoted to policy designers.

The fact that content analysts are hired by outside agencies makes these things impossible. There are no established avenues for communication with Facebook FTEs, and we can face penalties if we attempt to contact them.

Anyway, that's it. I hope you figure out a way to stop constantly starting PR fires and traumatizing people en masse.
Post Reply