Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement last week that Facebook was hiring 3,000 content moderators to flag and remove inappropriate and violent videos and posts on its platform won praise but also raised plenty of questions. The social network already has a global team of moderators, but it can’t seem to keep up with the content posted by its 1.3 billion daily users. So, will this hiring spurt just increase the size of the army of moderators carrying out the same job as always–or are they being taught new skills and given new responsibilities?
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg wrote that the new employees would “review the millions of reports we get every week, and improve the process for doing it quickly.”
But what will these jobs exactly look like? I emailed Facebook as soon as this announcement went live, but a spokesperson declined to provide more details. There are, however, potentially some clues on Facebook’s hiring page.
On the page, there are 74 open positions for the community operations team in seven countries. The jobs vary, but there are a few that specifically stand out.
One position is called “escalations specialist,” which is described as working with the “newly created global escalations team.” The role entails the employee investigating “reported escalations” as well as “triage low- to medium-risk situations to proper teams for review.” The job seems to focus on how create a more seamless system for escalating inappropriate posts and videos. It doesn’t go into detail about what constitutes an “escalating” situation.
There is very little information online about this new global escalations team, but I did discover a cached web page on Google that alluded to the same “newly created” team last February, so it’s unlikely recent events spurred its creation.
Most prominent, however, is the role of “market specialist,” for which there are 26 openings. Each market specialist represents a certain region. They include France, Georgia, Burma, South Korea, and many others–and the job is tailored to the needs of that region. For example, per the description, the market specialist in Thailand would “work with the Thai market to review content reported for potential abuse, resolve user account issues, improve the overall support experience for that market, as well as solve thematic global issues.” That’s a tall order.
It also should be noted that market specialist is not a new role. The company has had them for years–Glassdoor has a few details about the interview process that dates back to 2015. All the same, the role seems to have changed, judging by the way Facebook describes it. A 2014 description for a Thai market specialist explained that the employee would “sit within the Thai market team, and work to improve the overall user experience for that market, as well as solve thematic global issues.” There is only one mention of abuse moderation–that specialists will have to “proactively and reactively investigate reported abuse.” In the current postings described above, abuse moderation is much more prominently emphasized.
Both market and escalation specialist roles seem to overlap to some extent, and they seem part of an improved overall strategy for dealing with abusive content. Hundreds–if not thousands–of individual moderators sifting through thousands of posts would probably work under these new specialists. It’s not clear how these market specialists will coordinate with the global escalation team.
Another piece of the puzzle is that, despite the global reach of the responsibilities, many of these roles will be based in Dublin. The Irish Independent recently wrote that Zuckerberg’s announcement “all but guarantees that [Facebook’s] Dublin facility is set for expedited expansion beyond the 2,400 people officially in its sights.”
If you know anything else about Facebook’s plans to better fight abusive content–or, if you work or have worked as a market specialist, escalation specialist, content moderator, or anything else under that umbrella–I’d love to hear from you. Anonymity guaranteed.