By Casey Newton: For More Info, Go Here…

At Facebook’s worst-performing content moderation site in North America, one contractor has died, and others say they fear for their lives.

Content warning: This story contains descriptions of violent acts against people and animals, accounts of sexual harassment and post-traumatic stress disorder, and other potentially disturbing content.

Keith Utley loved to help.

First, he served in the Coast Guard, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander. He married, had a family, and devoted himself utterly to his two little girls. After he got out of the military, he worked as a moderator for Facebook, where he purged the social network of the worst stuff that its users post on a daily basis: the hate speech, the murders, the child pornography.

Utley worked the overnight shift at a Facebook content moderation site in Tampa, FL, operated by a professional services vendor named Cognizant. The 800 or so workers there face relentless pressure from their bosses to better enforce the social network’s community standards, which receive near-daily updates that leave its contractor workforce in a perpetual state of uncertainty. The Tampa site has routinely failed to meet the 98 percent “accuracy” target set by Facebook. In fact, with a score that has been hovering around 92, it is Facebook’s worst-performing site in North America.


Facebook’s content moderation site in Tampa, FL, which is operated by the professional services firm Cognizant, is its lowest-performing site in North America. It has never consistently enforced Facebook’s policies with 98 percent accuracy, as stipulated in Cognizant’s contract.

For the first time, three former Facebook moderators in North America are breaking their nondisclosure agreements and going on the record to discuss working conditions on the site.

A Facebook content moderator working for Cognizant in Tampa had a heart attack at his desk and died last year. Senior management initially discouraged employees from discussing the incident, for fear it would hurt productivity.

Tampa workers have filed two sexual harassment cases against coworkers since April. They are now before the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Facilities at the Tampa site are often filthy, with workers reporting that the office’s only bathroom has repeatedly been found smeared with feces and menstrual blood.
Workers have also found pubic hair and fingernails at their desks, along with other bodily waste.

Verbal and physical fights at the office are common. So are reports of theft.
The Phoenix site has been dealing with an infestation of bed bugs for the past three months.

Facebook says it will conduct an audit of its partner sites and make other changes to promote the well-being of its contractors. It said it would consider making more moderators full-time employees in the future, and hopes to someday provide counseling for moderators after they leave.

Leave a Reply