Meta moderators threaten to abort work over missing salaries

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A group of third-party content moderators at Meta (formerly Facebook) has reportedly threatened to stop work until their salaries are paid in full.

Facebook moderators at an Accenture site in Austin, the US are “facing a payroll disaster that has left many without their holiday paychecks,” reports The Verge.

In an open letter to the CEOs of Meta and Accenture, they have threatened to halt work.

“If these issues are not resolved immediately a work stoppage will be enacted,” said the message.

According to the report on Tuesday, some workers have received lump-sum payments from the company but not “everyone has received those payments, and many are in desperate financial straits”.

“Some employees have had to take out payday loans just so they could have enough money to buy food for their children,” an unnamed employee was quoted as saying.

Facebook did confirm the disruption and said that Accenture has notified its employees of this issue “and is working to resolve it as soon as possible.”

Accenture said that it has not seen “any indication of coordinated work stoppage at the site”.

“We recently switched payroll providers and experienced some unanticipated challenges during our first payroll run with the new provider,” a company spokesperson told The Verge.

“We continue encouraging our people who need assistance to reach out to their supervisor or HR, so we can help them resolve.”

Facebook hired several firms like Accenture, Cognizant, Genpact, and ProUnlimited to help it moderate and remove harmful content in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election and Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Accenture reportedly employs more than a third of the 15,000 people whom Meta said it has hired to inspect its posts.

Meta had more than 30,000 employees working on safety and security — about half of whom are content moderators.

The social networking giant in May 2020 agreed to pay $52 million to third-party content moderators who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues as they scanned scores of disturbing images of rape, murder, and suicide to curb those on the platform.

In a preliminary settlement in San Mateo Superior Court, the social networking giant agreed to pay damages to 11,250 US-based moderators and provide more counseling to them, the media had reported.

Several moderators had said that they had been diagnosed with PTSD after working for Facebook.

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