October 31, 2019
Cognizant turning away from vile online content control
Digital services company Cognizant on Thursday said it will stop its work to help filter vile content posted at online venues such as Facebook.
The shift was portrayed by Cognizant as part of a plan by the New Jersey-based company to focus on services related to data, digital Engineering, cloud, and the internet-of-things.
"We have determined that certain content work in our Digital Operations practice is not in line with our strategic vision for the company and we intend to exit this work over time," a Cognizant spokeswoman said in response to an AFP inquiry.
"This work is largely focused on determining whether certain content violates client standards—and can involve objectionable materials."
Reports earlier this year at technology news website The Verge told of Cognizant workers moderating Facebook content were being traumatized by disturbing, graphic or extremist pictures or videos.
Verge also reported troubling work conditions at a Cognizant "content moderation center."
Cognizant employed teams to evaluate content flagged by software or internet users as violating rules regarding what is acceptable at online venues such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.
"We respect Cognizant's decision to exit some of its content review services for social media platforms," said Facebook vice president of scaled operations Arun Chandra.
"Their content reviewers have been invaluable in keeping our platforms safe—and we'll work with our partners during this transition to ensure there's no impact on our ability to review content and keep people safe."
Cognizant planned to honor existing obligations to the "small number of clients" affected by the decision, saying it could take more than a year to exit those contracts.
Facebook has been investing heavily in teams and software devoted to privacy and safety at the leading social network.
Cognizant makes up a small percentage of Facebook's global content review efforts, which take place 24 hours a day in more than 50 languages, according to Chandra.
Facebook planned to increase ranks of reviewers at a US site operated by a different partner to handle work that was being done by Cognizant.
© 2019 AFP