Journalists hired by Facebook to curate its “trending” news section suffered alienating and “degrading” working conditions, according to a report in Gizmodo on Tuesday. Former contractors told Gizmodo that Facebook wants the outside world to believe the trending topics are surfaced by its algorithm, rather than by humans—so those workers were instructed not to tell anyone they worked at Facebook.
“We were housed in a conference room for two-and-a-half months,” said one former curator. . . “It was degrading as a human being,” said another. “We weren’t treated as individuals. We were treated in this robot way.”
Facebook’s goal, according to Gizmodo‘s sources, seems to be using this contract labor to train its algorithm to generate trending topics on its own—no humans required.