- Aug 19, 2003
- Reaction score
They need to be unionised.Here is a film, "The Cleaners", that I think everyone needs to watch.
It's about "content moderators", the people to whom social media companies have outsourced responsibility for deciding what is appropriate and what is not. There are apparently thousands of these info sweatshop workers in third world countries whose job is to sit at a terminal all day, clicking on one image after another, deciding whether to allow or delete them. From the film, these people appear to be mostly uneducated provincials, poorly trained, essentially unsupervised, bringing their own biases and prejudices to the job. They are expected to process 25,000 images per day, which means they have about one second to decide whether an image stays or goes. Their judgment is too often simplistic and unsophisticated; they lack a world view which would allow them to see any of the images in context.
One moderator, viewing an image of a U.S. military guard at Abu Ghraib prison terrorizing a prisoner with a dog, thinks it is an ISIS propaganda image and deletes it. Another, viewing an iconic image from the Vietnam war, a young naked girl fleeing a napalm attack, thinks "child, genitalia, unacceptable" and deletes it. One bases her decisions on her religious beliefs, another on his unpalatable political views. These are not people you want deciding what you see or do not see on the internet.
Also, the large social media platforms appear to be proactively anticipating what may or may not be acceptable to repressive regimes around the world and are deleting or blocking content before anyone complains. The "content moderator" companies, of course, are subcontractors, so the media companies can wash their hands of any responsibility.
Honestly, is this the best we can do? It's becoming increasingly clear that the social media companies are simply feckless, dazzled by their own technical genius, besotted with a Kumbaya vision of the whole world connected and dancing around the maypole. Inevitably, inaction by the media companies will force the government to step in, and I doubt that will end well.
Let's really found the Information Workers of the World Wide Web (IWWWW), the Webblies!