Facebook content moderators break NDAs to reveal shocking working conditions involving gruesome videos and feces smeared on walls

3 former Facebook content moderators agreed to put themselves in legal jeopardy to show the appalling working conditions they experienced whereas employed by a vendor for the tech giant, in step with a new report by The Verge.


Workers reported a dirty workplace environment where they often find hair and bodily waste around their desks. Conditions at the Tampa site are so strenuous that employees regularly put their health at risk, several individuals told The Verge. One employee kept a trash can by her desk to throw up whereas she was sick since she had already used all her allotted bathroom breaks. Cognizant isn’t required to offer sick leave in Florida. One man had a heart attack at his table and died shortly after, The Verge reported, and the site has not yet gotten a defibrillator.


Following an earlier report that uncovered surprising working conditions at the vendor’s Phoenix facility, The Verge spoke with 12 current and former Cognizant content moderators in Tampa, Florida. 3 of those former staff agreed to break their nondisclosure agreements signed as a condition of employment, in step with The Verge. The Tampa site is Cognizant’s lowest-performing site under the Facebook contract in North America, according to the Verge, with an accuracy score of 92 compared with Facebook’s stated target of 98.


Shawn Speagle, one of the previous moderators who went on the record, said he wasn’t made aware of the extent of graphic content he would be exposed to whereas working for Cognizant. Cognizant told The Verge it’s “transparent” about the sort of labor new hires will be expected to complete. Speagle told The Verge he has a history of anxiety and depression and has been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder since leaving the role at Cognizant.


On the job, Speagle recalled his 1st assignment involved observation a video of 2 teenagers smashing an iguana on the ground “until the thing was a bloody pulp.” The video was allowed to remain up under Facebook’s policies, in step with The Verge.


“We work with our content review partners to provide a level of support and compensation that leads the business,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “There will inevitably be employee challenges or dissatisfaction that call our commitment to this work and our partners’ employees into question. When the circumstances warrant action on the part of management, we make sure it happens.”


In a separate statement, a Facebook representative addressed the death of the moderator who had a heart attack at the Tampa site and later died.
“Our thoughts go out to Keith Utley’s family, friends and everybody who worked with him,” the spokesperson said. “We go to great lengths to support the people that do this necessary work, and take any reports that we might not be doing enough incredibly seriously.”


In a statement, Cognizant said it “strives to make a safe and empowering workplace for its over 40,000 staff in the U.S.A. and their colleagues around the world. Like any giant employer, Cognizant routinely and professionally responds to and addresses general workplace and personnel problems in its facilities. Our Tampa facility is no different. Cognizant works exhausting to make sure a safe, clean, and supportive work atmosphere for all of our associates.”