Facebook is going to sell its army of content reviewers a higher hourly wage and additional counseling opportunities, the company announced Monday morning.
The wage hike also extends to other contractors, with the company committing to pay a living wage across the U.S. for all of its contractors, and even higher wages for content reviewers. However, contractors may have to wait a whole year until they actually get to see their pay increase.
Facebook has been requiring U.S.-based contractors to pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour since 2015, but the company said in a blog post Monday morning that it found those wages not to be sufficient: “In the years since, it’s become clear that $15 per hour doesn’t meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate.”
Under its new rules, Facebook and its contracting partners will pay contractors at least $20 per hour in the Bay Area, New York City and Washington, D.C., and $18 per hour in Seattle. Content reviewers will get even more: “We’ll pay at least $22 per hour to all employees of our vendor partners based in the Bay Area, New York City and Washington, D.C.; $20 per hour to those living in Seattle; and $18 per hour in all other metro areas in the US,” the company said in its blog post.
“We’ll be implementing these changes by mid-next year and we’re working to develop similar standards for other countries,” it added.
Facebook has responded to a backlash against hate and disinformation on its platform with the hiring of an army of content reviewers; at the end of 2018, the company had more than 30,000 people working on what it calls safety and security. Most of these reviewers are contractors hired by third parties on behalf of Facebook, which means they earn significantly less, and generally have less benefits, than Facebook’s staff.
In addition to pay discrepancies, there has also been a spotlight on the wellbeing of workers whose job it is to look at content that potentially violates Facebook’s rules all day long. The Verge reported earlier this year that some workers have to evaluate up to 400 pieces of content a day, with some including hate speech, violence or pornography.
Facebook now wants to give content reviewers more tools to deal with this onslaught of explicit content. This will include around-the-clock on-site counseling and regular resiliency training. In addition, Facebook also wants to launch a whistleblower hotline for all of its contractors, and institute regular audits of its contracting partners.
“Content review at our size can be challenging and we know we have more work to do,” the company concluded in its blog post.