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Facebook Moderators Say Their Counsellors Were Pressured To Reveal Details Of Therapy Sessions

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Counsellors who work with third-party Facebook moderators are alleging they are being pressured to reveal details of their sessions with workers. Face It Accenture is an Austin, Texas company that employs 1,500 Facebook moderators, whose job it is to scour the website and remove offensive content. Because these employees are often exposed to horrific posts, including hate speech and images of child abuse, they are offered mental health counselling. Or as Accenture refers to it, “wellness coaches.” But according to a report in The Intercept, those coaches are accusing Accenture managers of repeatedly pressuring them to reveal the details of those counselling sessions. One counsellor resigned rather than break this rule. No Confidence In a letter posted to Workspace that has been viewed thousands of times, an anonymous group of moderators allege that when a manager received pushback from a counsellor, citing confidentially concerns, they replied that “because this was not a clinical setting, confidentiality did not exist.” Facebook did not respond to specific questions about the violation, but released a statement affirming it’s dedication to “the needs of employees,” while Accenture denied the allegations. In Moderation A report earlier this year in The Verge detailed the difficulties of the moderators’ job, as the third-party contractors are exposed to horrific images, and are expected to view as many as 800 pieces of “disturbing content” per shift, with few breaks. Clean Up Crew Big tech companies like Facebook and YouTube are increasingly relying on so-called “digital janitors” to help clean up the internet and remove the posts no one needs to see. But while it is a growing sector, it’s not the best gig, as it is typically low wage, contract or part-time work without benefits, and the moderators are exposed to the bowels of the internet. How companies like Facebook and Google treats their contract workers is now being heavily scrutinized. As socially conscious ESG investing becomes more popular, the treatment of contract workers could very well become an issue, as the way a company treats its employees is a big part of achieving the S in the Environmental Social Corporate Governance rating. -Michael Tedder Photo by Adobe