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

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

This story was originally published by

Wired's Adrian Chen goes down the internet rabbit hole to find out who is really responsible for the moderation of platforms like Facebook and Twitter.




The campuses of the tech industry are famous for their lavish cafeterias, cushy shuttles, and on-site laundry services. But on a muggy February afternoon, some of these companies’ most important work is being done 7,000 miles away, on the second floor of a former elementary school at the end of a row of auto mechanics’ stalls in Bacoor, a gritty Filipino town 13 miles southwest of Manila.

When I climb the building’s narrow stairwell, I need to press against the wall to slide by workers heading down for a smoke break. Up one flight, a drowsy security guard staffs what passes for a front desk: a wooden table in a dark hallway overflowing with file folders.

Past the guard, in a large room packed with workers manning PCs on long tables, I meet Michael Baybayan, an enthusiastic 21-year-old with a jaunty pouf of reddish-brown hair. If the space does not resemble a typical startup’s office, the image on Baybayan’s screen does not resemble typical startup work: It appears to show a super-close-up photo of a two-pronged dildo wedged in a vagina. I say appearsbecause I can barely begin to make sense of the image, a baseball-card-sized abstraction of flesh and translucent pink plastic, before he disappears it with a casual flick of his mouse.

Baybayan is part of a massive labor force that handles “content moderation”- the removal of offensive material -for US social-networking sites. As social media connects more people more intimately than ever before, companies have been confronted with the Grandma Problem: Now that grandparents routinely use services like Facebook to connect with their kids and grandkids, they are potentially exposed to the Internet’s panoply of jerks, racists, creeps, criminals, and bullies. They won’t continue to log on if they find their family photos sandwiched between a gruesome Russian highway accident and a hardcore porn video. Social media’s growth into a multibillion-dollar industry, and its lasting mainstream appeal, has depended in large part on companies’ ability to police the borders of their user-generated content—to ensure that Grandma never has to see images like the one Baybayan just nuked.

Read the full piece on Wired here




Latest News

Cannes In Cairns 2024 Agenda Revealed!
  • B&T Exclusive

Cannes In Cairns 2024 Agenda Revealed!

An almighty chunk of the Cannes in Cairns presented by Pinterest agenda has been revealed, and there is plenty in store for you. Lead image: Fernando Machado, CMO, NotCo Revellers can expect three days of cracking content from 4-7 June. From global keynotes and marvellous marketers to film directors, professors and all-round media and creative […]

Cannes In Cairns Early Bird Ticket Prices Ending Soon!
  • B&T Exclusive

Cannes In Cairns Early Bird Ticket Prices Ending Soon!

Early bird ticket prices for Cannes in Cairns 2024 are ending soon, so you’ll need to move quickly to save money on the hottest ticket in town (or anywhere!). You have until 31 March to secure your ticket at the discounted price of $1,979.99 inclusive of GST. What’s more, you can get even tastier discounts […]

The Coffee Commune’s “Finding Brisbane’s Best Cafe” Achieves Record Entries
  • Campaigns

The Coffee Commune’s “Finding Brisbane’s Best Cafe” Achieves Record Entries

To promote the launch of its latest campaign, ‘Finding Brisbane’s Best Cafe’, The Coffee Commune (TCC) harnessed the power of radio, digital and programmatic OOH. The seven-week campaign also served to increase The Coffee Commune’s membership, and via TFM Digital, it saw a record 39,633 entries garnered (28,774 unique), with 880+ cafes nominated. Teaming up […]