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The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed from blog The Technology blog and podcast

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The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed

A lot of tech news is your typical review, or typical question and answer type of thing. In Wired Magazine this month, there is an article entitled: The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed and it is not pretty. Lets just take one section which really got me going from this article.

“Nearby, in a shopping mall, I meet a young woman who I’ll call Maria. She’s on her lunch break from an outsourcing firm, where she works on a team that moderates photos and videos for the cloud storage service of a major US technology company. Maria is a quality-assurance representative, which means her duties include double-checking the work of the dozens of agents on her team to make sure they catch everything. This requires her to view many videos that have been flagged by moderators.

“I get really affected by bestiality with children,” she says. “I have to stop. I have to stop for a moment and loosen up, maybe go to Starbucks and have a coffee. She laughs at the absurd juxtaposition of a horrific sex crime and an overpriced latte.

Constant exposure to videos like this has turned some of Maria’s coworkers intensely paranoid. Every day they see proof of the infinite variety of human depravity. They begin to suspect the worst of people they meet in real life, wondering what secrets their hard drives might hold. Two of Maria’s female coworkers have become so suspicious that they no longer leave their children with babysitters. They sometimes miss work because they can’t find someone they trust to take care of their kids.

Maria is especially haunted by one video that came across her queue soon after she started the job. “There’s this lady,” she says, dropping her voice. “Probably in the age of 15 to 18, I don’t know. She looks like a minor. There’s this bald guy putting his head to the lady’s vagina. The lady is blindfolded, handcuffed, screaming and crying.

The video was more than a half hour long. After watching just over a minute, Maria began to tremble with sadness and rage. Who would do something so cruel to another person? She examined the man on the screen. He was bald and appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent but was otherwise completely unremarkable. The face of evil was someone you might pass by in the mall without a second glance.

After two and a half years on the cloud storage moderation team, Maria plans to quit later this year and go to medical school. But she expects that video of the blindfolded girl to stick with her long after she’s gone. “I don’t know if I can forget it,” she says. “I watched that a long time ago, but it’s like I just watched it yesterday.”

Lets talk about this a minute. Some bald guy putting his head in some girl who may be 15-18 can be a serious problem. If you do that on your own time, thats your business. You take a video, thats your business. Putting that on the Internet becomes a problem. I want to thank people like Maria who tirelessly put their lives on the line to filter out things that may be questionable and against the law. Its a tough job, and someone unfortunately has to do it. Here’s the thing. I can’t speak about myself, but one thing I did wonder was whether these things had any audio. If it did, then it would be just as bad, because the woman or girl clearly didn’t want anything, and that is technically against the law. I hope justice was done, if at all possible. I also wonder if they turn these videos over to the police to see if any crime is committed? Tech is not pretty. Take a look at the article in full, and comment if you wish.

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The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed was released on November 14, 2014 at 10:22 pm by tech in article commentary.
Last modified: November 14, 2014.

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