Rumors are abound online, but are Filipino Facebook content moderators actually bribed to remove content critical to Vladimir Putin, the Beijing Communist Party and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte from Facebook?
By: Ringo Bones
I first heard it back in Friday, February 2, 2018 that a whistleblower had acquired proof that Filipino Facebook content moderators had been receiving bribes from various entities to advance their respective political ends by removing Facebook posts critical of them. Even though someone from the BBC had taken the story seriously but is still awaiting verification on the authenticity of the material – which means it could be a big story two weeks from now. But is there any truth to the story that Filipino Facebook content moderators are taking bribes?
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook started to hire additional personnel in the form of “content moderators” back in 2014 to control the tide of “propaganda posts” by the so-called Islamic State that showcased beheadings of western NGOs, charity workers and journalists caught up in their violent and bloody empire building in the wake of the Syrian civil war. It is not just “gruesome beheadings” that these so-called moderators block from being posted on Facebook. These also include inappropriate posts of pornographic nature – i.e. the so-called “dick pics” and their ilk. But since the so-called Islamic State is now in the wan, many of this so-called “Facebook Content Moderators” have branched out to do other tasks - sadly, they have the power to declare whichever of your posts is “spam” at their own discretion if they are not caught by their superiors.
Filipino Facebook Content Moderators are typically paid around 24,000 pesos a month – around 376 UK pounds (quid) or a little over 500 US dollars – which is twice that the typical salary of a public school teacher here in the Philippines. Rumors started to circulate around the middle of last year after one of the moderators who is actually working for Amnesty International infiltrated the center after it was found out that there are Filipino Facebook content moderators who are paid by the Kremlin with up to 10,000 US dollars if they block video posts on Facebook that are taken by Amnesty International operatives in Syria that show Russian troops and planes loyal to Bashar Al Assad committing war crimes.
American and European non-government organizations and charity groups critical of the current Philippine president who recently compared himself to Adolf Hitler – i.e. Rodrigo Duterte – on his handling of the Philippines’ so-called drug problem got their Facebook pages either blocked or made “unvisitable” in the Philippines. Should there be an ethics committee serving as an oversight on Filipino Facebook Content Moderators?