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Thread: Facebooks Content Moderators Start Believing the Conspiracy Theories Theyre Charged with Policing

  1. #1
    Respect the badge Chlodovech's Avatar
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    Facebooks Content Moderators Start Believing the Conspiracy Theories Theyre Charged with Policing

    "Conspiracy theories", lol. It's a retarded article, but it's interesting to see how FB moderators are starting to figure things out for themselves.

    Facebooks Content Moderators Start Believing the Conspiracy Theories Theyre Charged with Policing



    As a company, Facebook seems to exist in a state of unending crisis, lurching into a new controversy before the last has been resolved and constantly vowing to do better at some later date that never arrives. The company has failed, for example, to address many of its systemic problems around the spread of political misinformation during the 2016 election, and here we are on the cusp of one more presidential election, staring down all the same problems. And now a long, interview-heavy story from The Verge details what it's like to moderate Facebook's content at an Arizona-based facility, and it's shocking not just for what the moderators have to see on a daily basis, but also for the aggressive micromanagement they're subjected to.

    The story opens with a training session, where new hire "Chloe" must screen a post and moderate it in front of the other trainees:

    The video depicts a man being murdered. Someone is stabbing him, dozens of times, while he screams and begs for his life. Chloes job is to tell the room whether this post should be removed. She knows that section 13 of the Facebook community standards prohibits videos that depict the murder of one or more people. When Chloe explains this to the class, she hears her voice shaking.

    Returning to her seat, Chloe feels an overpowering urge to sob. Another trainee has gone up to review the next post, but Chloe cannot concentrate. She leaves the room, and begins to cry so hard that she has trouble breathing.

    The psychological burden of the job is tremendous, and employees cope with steady drug use or quick sex in stairways or even in a breastfeeding room. But the effects go beyond just straightforward trauma from seeing and reading distressing content for hours on end, day after day. Many moderators begin to buy into the conspiracies they see:

    One auditor walks the floor promoting the idea that the Earth is flat. A former employee told me he has begun to question certain aspects of the Holocaust. Another former employee, who told me he has mapped every escape route out of his house and sleeps with a gun at his side, said: I no longer believe 9/11 was a terrorist attack.

    An important detail is that none of these people technically work for Facebook, but for companies that Facebook contracts with. With contract work, Facebook can "scale globally," but they can get away with paying workers 1/10th of what they pay full-time employees. It also, by design or coincidence, shields Facebook's full-time employees (including programmers and management) from exposure to any of this. Even without the horrific content, the workers' conditions sound like so many other hyper-stressful, micromanaged work environments fostered by places like Amazon distribution centers. Their time is monitored constantly, they can't leave their desks without activating a web browser extension, and they can be fired if their "accuracy" score drops below 95 percent. That last detail might sound like an appropriately rigorous standard, but "accuracy" in this case simply means that your superiors draw the same conclusion that you do, not that your calls adhere to objective criteria.

    Of course, there is theoretically "objective" criteria: Facebook's guidelines for dealing with potentially hateful, graphic, or violent content. The problem is that following a strict, legalistic reading of the policies produces strange gaps. Promoting eugenics and forced sterilization is fine, for example, as long as it's directed at non-protected categories like "people with autism." It's this kind of misreading that, anecdotally, causes Facebook to moderate posts calling out racism and still leave up content with neo-Nazi propaganda. In fact, Facebook's neo-Nazi problem has been an ongoing one, and despite public vows to change the company's ad-targeting system, advertisers are still able to target users interested in Nazis.

    Clearly, Facebook needs to do a better job. That's the same conclusion reached by a year-long investigation by a committee of British Parliament that looked into the company's business practices before and after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. After determining that Mark Zuckerberg failed to show "leadership or responsibility," the committee has called for additional regulations administered by independent regulators, all funded by new taxes on social-media companies. It's ambitious, but the past few years have shown that Facebook itself is completely unable to deal with Facebook's problems.
    Source: GQ.com
    How can one explain this trend towards a more colorless and shallow life? Well, the work was easier, if less healthy, and it brought in more money, more leisure, and perhaps more entertainment. A day in the country is long and hard. And yet the fruits of their present life were worthless compared to a single coin of their former life: a rest in the evening and a rural festivity. That they no longer knew the old kind of happiness was obvious from the discontentment which spread over their features. Soon dissatisfaction, prevailing over all their other moods, became their religion. - Ernst Jnger, The Glass Bees

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    Senior Member Ravenrune's Avatar
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    "Conspiracy Theory" (or Conspiracy Theorist) is an interesting phrase. It's mainly used as a kind of sticky label to immediately paste onto someone for a seemingly (according to the biased and limited story of 'normal society') believing in irrational ideas (at least taught as irrational by a biased and limited society).

    In this way, it is like other labels like "Holocaust Denier" (is the D in 'denier' capitalized yet?lol). There is no logical discussion about the actual ideas but the label is stuck on immediately to make the person sound crazy, dangerous or thinking illegal ideas.

    It's like accusing someone of Witchcraft or perhaps centuries ago a Non-Geocentrist ( Galileo and Copernicus would have been such thinkers of illegal ideas).

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    People who use the term as a knee-jerk reaction actually don't stop and ponder any details or the fact that 'conspiracy' is a common criminal charge all the time (but on smaller scales ... ie, not including the judges and anyone in power higher than themselves lol)

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    I find the whole idea that people hired to judge and ban illegal ideas are actually learning from them and pondering that maybe there is something in these ideas after all LOL.

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    How can one explain this trend towards a more colorless and shallow life? Well, the work was easier, if less healthy, and it brought in more money, more leisure, and perhaps more entertainment. A day in the country is long and hard. And yet the fruits of their present life were worthless compared to a single coin of their former life: a rest in the evening and a rural festivity. That they no longer knew the old kind of happiness was obvious from the discontentment which spread over their features. Soon dissatisfaction, prevailing over all their other moods, became their religion. - Ernst Jnger, The Glass Bees

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