Facebook moderators working for one of the company’s Dublin-based contractors are being forced to go into the office, even as Ireland returns to its highest tier of Covid lockdown, after their employer categorised them as “essential workers”.
Staff with personal shielding requirements are exempt from the order, but those with high-risk family members at home have been told by the contractor, CPL, that they are still required in the office.
Facebook announced in August that its own employees were allowed to work remotely until July 2021 and they were given $1,000 (£765) towards setting up at home. However, for their moderators, who review the millions of reports flagged to them by Facebook users and are predominantly employed through third-party contractors, the generous perks do not exist.
“People are feeling that they’re being exploited,” said one moderator, who asked to remain anonymous because they had signed a non-disclosure agreement. “Facebook themselves, they are making almost all their employees work from home. Even people working in the same team, on the same project as us – we’re doing the same work – Facebook is letting them work from home and not us.”
In the early days of the pandemic, Facebook said some of its moderation work would have to be done in the office because of safeguarding concerns. Moderators working on sensitive topics, such as terrorism or self-harm, were not allowed to do so from home amid concerns for their mental health while working on such material in isolation.