Facebook moderator to tell committee of 'awful' content she handles 

Isabella Plunkett will tell the Oireachtas Enterprise Committee she views content including 'hate speech, bullying, graphic violence, suicide, abuse, child exploitation' but that many of her colleagues 'have it even worse – they’re working child abuse and self-harm queues all day'
Facebook moderator to tell committee of 'awful' content she handles 

A moderator of inappropriate content at Facebook will describe the 'horrible, lucid dreams' she suffers due to the 'awful' content she is expected to deal with on a daily basis. Picture: Pexels

A moderator of inappropriate content at Facebook will describe the “horrible, lucid dreams” she suffers due to the “awful” content she is expected to deal with on a daily basis.

Moderators monitor and remove inappropriate content, including hate speech, bullying and images of violence and abuse. A growing number are speaking out about the psychological impact of the job. 

“The content is awful, it would affect anyone,” Isabella Plunkett will tell the Oireachtas Enterprise Committee on Wednesday. 

It has finally started to get to me – I have horrible lucid dreams about the things I’ve seen.” 

She will also say she has been taking anti-depressants “for months… because of the content”.

Ms Plunkett will say she views content including "hate speech, bullying, graphic violence, suicide, abuse, child exploitation" but that many of her colleagues “have it even worse – they’re working child abuse and self-harm queues all day”.

She will say wellness coaches have suggested “karaoke or painting” to moderators who are struggling.

You don’t always feel like singing, frankly, after you’ve seen someone battered to bits.”

Ms Plunkett will speak with the assistance of Foxglove, a non-profit organisation assisting moderators in their quest for better working conditions, and the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

Better standards of psychiatric care

Moderators want better standards of psychiatric care, including the ability to "opt out" of working with toxic content, along with an end to non-disclosure agreements preventing them from discussing their job in public. 

They are also calling for an end to outsourcing by large social media firms.

Moderators at Facebook work as outsourced employees via companies like Accenture or Covalen.

“Facebook staff’s pay is more than double mine,” Ms Plunkett will say. “They’re paid for sickness. I get seven days unpaid a year. If our work is so important, why aren’t we Facebook staff?”

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