It's been no secret that content moderation can be a soul-crushing job.
"Because wages so directly affect people's lives, we obviously have a deep responsibility to look after all the people who work for Facebook - with us as a partner or with us directly", Janelle Gale, Facebook's vice president of human resources, said in an interview.
However, the duties can also take a psychological toll on the employee.
Content reviewers also have access to on-site, trained professionals for individual and group counseling, Facebook said. Most of these reviewers are contractors hired by third parties on behalf of Facebook, which means they earn significantly less, and generally have less benefits, than Facebook's staff. As a result, Facebook said it doesn't know exactly how much each of its contractors is paid, and it's possible that some already make more than Facebook's new threshold.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer and the largest USA private sector employer, pays workers $11 an hour at entry-level, while Target Corp said here in April it would raise US minimum wage to $13 an hour. Moderators also have health care benefits. "We're committed to supporting our content reviewers in a way that puts their well-being first and we will continue to share steps forward on this important topic".
Facebook said Monday it's also adding tools for content moderators to have graphic images blurred out or shown in black and white before they see it.
Contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Washington DC will be paid a minimum of $20 an hour, while contractors in Seattle will be paid at least $18 per hour.
Facebook said that next year it will increase hourly minimum pay for all contracted workers in cities with a high cost of living. In Seattle, they'll receive $20 per hour, and in the rest of the United States, they'll earn $18 per hour. After Russia used Facebook to influence the 2016 USA presidential election, the company beefed up its stable of safety and security employees to 30,000 people, many of them content moderators.
Unfortunately, the pay raise may not be immediate.
Gale said she hopes to implement the changes by the summer of 2020.
Tech giants don't include moderators or contractors such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers in their official head count of full-time employees, which for Facebook stood at 37,700 worldwide at the end of March. At Apple, contractors work on customer support issues and even Apple News.
We're now requiring all vendor partners to provide on-site counseling during all hours of operations, not just certain hours of each shift.
"We made these changes after hearing feedback that reviewers want more control over how they see content that can be challenging", Facebook said. The contractors hadn't spoken previously about their organizing, but used Facebook's internal communication system, Facebook Workplace, where thousands of employees have seen or commented on the messages.