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Social media content moderators tell Committee of horrendous working conditions - Louise O'Reilly TD

12 May, 2021 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD has said the testimony of Trade Unions and a social media content moderator before the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee "underlines the need for government to step in and regulate these companies, and ensure workers are not exploited or abused".
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Today was a historic day in the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee as it was the first time in the world that a social media moderator gave evidence to a parliamentary committee.
“At the Committee, Isabella Plunkett who moderates content for Facebook via an outsourcing company, gave evidence to the Committee of the horrendous working conditions and the culture of fear and bullying content moderators who work with Facebook, and other platforms, are subject to.
“Ms Plunkett spoke of having to review and watch content that includes hate speech, bullying, graphic violence, suicide, abuse, and child exploitation.
“She outlined the lack of workplace mental health supports for workers who have to watch graphic content, as well as the shockingly poor pay and conditions for content moderators, just because Facebook has outsourced this essential work.
“There is a clear and immediate need for a full investigation into the outsourcing practices of tech giants in this state who are using outsourcing to circumvent their obligations as an employer.
“The Communications Workers Union (CWU) and Foxglove, a non-profit organisation, who have represented content moderators at social media platforms for some years now, also elaborated on the culture of fear which has stopped workers speaking up and campaigning for better supports and pay and conditions.
“The Committee meeting should be watched back in full by all politicians and policy makers, because it underlines the urgent need for regulation of these companies, and also the need to legislate for Trade Union recognition so unions can fight on behalf of the workers for better pay and conditions.”

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