Tags Comments Share your voice Facebook Mobile Tech Industry 10 Now playing: Watch this: Facebook is putting women on the front line of its war… 4:06 Staff sit at computers inside a Facebook content moderation center in Berlin. Soeren Stache/Getty Images Some of the workers saw video of a man being stabbed to death. Others viewed acts of bestiality or animals being tortured. Suicides and beheadings popped up too.The reason for watching the gruesome content: to determine whether it should be pulled from Facebook before more members of the world’s largest social network could see it.Content moderators protect Facebook’s 2.3 billion users from exposure to humanity’s darkest impulses. Scouring posts that’ve been flagged by other members of the social network or by the Silicon Valley giant’s artificial intelligence tools, they quickly decide what stays up and what comes down. But reviewing the posts comes with a cost. Constant exposure to violence, hatred and sordid acts can wreak havoc on a person’s mental health. Former content moderators have already filed a lawsuit against Facebook in which they say repeated exposure to violent images caused psychological trauma. There’s a reason being a content moderator has been called “the worst job in technology.”It’s also an important job, and one that isn’t handled by Facebook employees. Instead, it’s outsourced to contractors, some of whom turn to drugs and sex in the workplace to distract themselves from the abhorrent images they see every day, according to a February story in The Verge, which reported that some of the workers make as little as $28,800 per year. That’s just over the federal poverty level for a family of four. Facebook said in May that it plans to raise the minimum hourly wage for contract workers, which is currently $15 per hour. Details of the working conditions of content moderators are still coming out. On Wednesday, The Verge reported that a content moderator who worked at a site in Florida operated by Cognizant died after having a heart attack at his desk. The site in Tampa was reportedly a stressful, dirty and unhealthy environment. Cognizant says that it works to “ensure a safe, clean, and supportive work environment.”Contracting in the tech industry has reached a flashpoint, escalating tensions in Silicon Valley’s world of haves and have-nots. Contractors and temps don’t get the health care or retirement benefits that full-time employees do, a difference that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last year, contract workers at Google protested, demanding higher wages and benefits.Facebook said Wednesday it works with its contractors “to provide a level of support and compensation that leads the industry.” The social media giant also said its thoughts go out to family, friends and co-workers of the deceased moderator.”There will inevitably be employee challenges or dissatisfaction that call our commitment to this work and our partners’ employees into question,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “When the circumstances warrant action on the part of management, we make sure it happens.”Here’s a look at five of the companies that have worked with Facebook to police content.CognizantA multinational provider of services to technology, finance, health care, retail and other companies, Cognizant offers services including app development, consulting, information technology and digital strategy.Based in Teaneck, New Jersey, Cognizant has roughly 281,600 employees around the world, according to its annual report. Nearly 70 percent of its workforce is in India.The company’s role in supporting Facebook’s content moderation activities was the subject of recent stories in The Verge, which reported that roughly 1,000 Cognizant employees at its Phoenix office evaluate posts for potentially violating Facebook rules against hate speech, violence and terrorism. Cognizant Technology Solutions office in Chennai, India. The company works with Facebook on content moderation. Madhu Kapparath/Getty Images The workers get two 15-minute breaks, a 30-minute lunch and nine minutes of “wellness time” per day. They also have access to counselors and a hotline, according to the report.Still, some workers said that constant exposure to depravity has taken its toll. One former content moderator said he started to believe conspiracy theories, such as 9/11 being a hoax, after reviewing videos promoting the idea that the terrorist attack was faked. The former employee said he had brought a gun to work because he feared that fired employees would return to the office to harm those who still had jobs. Cognizant said in February it looked into “specific workplace issues raised in a recent report,” that it had “previously taken action where necessary” and that it has “steps in place to continue to address these concerns and any others raised by our employees.”The company outlined the resources it offers employees, including wellness classes, counselors and a 24-hour hotline.Cognizant also runs a site in Tampa, Florida that employs about 800 workers, according to The Verge. Workers at that facility have filed two sexual harassment complaints against coworkers since April. “Like any large employer, Cognizant routinely and professionally responds to and addresses general workplace and personnel issues in its facilities,” Cognizant said in a statement on Wednesday. “Our Tampa facility is no different. Cognizant works hard to ensure a safe, clean, and supportive work environment for all of our associates.”PRO UnlimitedBased in Boca Raton, Florida, PRO Unlimited provides services and software used by clients in more than 90 countries. Last year, Selena Scola, a former PRO Unlimited employee, who worked as a Facebook content moderator, filed a lawsuit alleging that she suffered from psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder caused by viewing thousands of disturbing images of violence. Scola’s PTSD symptoms can pop up when she hears loud noises or touches a computer mouse, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit was amended to include two more former content moderators who worked at Facebook through staffing companies. “Her symptoms are also triggered when she recalls or describes graphic imagery she was exposed to as a content moderator,” the lawsuit states, referring to Scola.Filed in superior court in Northern California’s San Mateo County, the lawsuit alleges Facebook violated California law by creating dangerous working conditions. Facebook content moderators are asked to review more than 10 million posts per week that may violate the social network’s rules, according to the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status.At the time the original lawsuit was filed, Facebook acknowledged the work can be stressful and said it requires the company it works with for content moderation to provide support such as counseling and relaxation areas.Facebook in a court filing denied Scola’s allegations and called for the case to be dismissed. A Facebook spokeswoman said the social media giant no longer uses PRO Unlimited for content moderation. PRO Unlimited didn’t respond to a request for comment.AccentureOne of the most prestigious consultancies in the world, Dublin-based Accenture has more than 459,000 people serving clients across 40 industries and in more than 120 countries, according to its website.People enter an Accenture office in downtown Helsinki. Jussi Nukari/Getty Images In February, Facebook content reviewers at an Accenture facility in Austin, Texas, complained about a “Big Brother” environment, alleging they weren’t allowed to use their phones at their desk or take “wellness” breaks during the first and last hour of their shift, according to a memo obtained by Business Insider. “Despite our pride in our work, Content Moderators have a secondary status in [the] hierarchy of the workplace, both within the Facebook and the Accenture structure,” the memo read. Accenture didn’t respond to a request for comment. At the time, Facebook said there had been a “misunderstanding” and that content moderators are encouraged to take wellness breaks at any time throughout the day. Some of Accenture’s clients have included other tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. More than three-quarters of Fortune Global 500 companies work with Accenture. ArvatoOne of Facebook’s largest content moderation centers is in Germany, a country that started enforcing a strict hate speech law last year that would fine social media companies up to 50 million euros ($58 million) if they didn’t pull down hate speech and other offensive content quickly enough. Arvato, owned by the German media company Bertelsmann, runs a content moderation center in Berlin. The company has faced complaints about working conditions and the toll the job takes on workers’ mental health.In 2017, Arvato said in a statement that it takes the well-being of its employees seriously and provides health care and access to company doctors, psychologists and social services. The company, based in Gütersloh, Germany, has 70,000 employees in more than 40 countries. It’s been providing Facebook with content moderation services since 2015. Arvato, which was rebranded last week as Majorel, said it offers content moderators a salary that’s 20 percent above minimum wage and support such as wellness classes and counselors. Workers can also take “resiliency breaks” at any time of the day.”We are proud to be a partner of Facebook and work in alignment with them to offer a competitive compensation package that includes a comprehensive benefits package,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “We will continue to work together to improve our offerings and support of our employees.” GenpactNew York-based professional services firm Genpact won a contract with Facebook last year to provide content moderation, according to The Economic Times.Concerns about the mental health of Facebook content moderators weren’t enough to scare off applicants in India, who flocked to jobs that paid between 225,000 and 400,000 rupees a year (about $3,150-$5,600). Genpact was searching for content moderators fluent in Tamil, Punjabi and other Indian languages.Some Genpact workers have complained about low pay and a stressful work environment, according to a report this week by Reuters. One former Genpact employee told the news outlet that at least three times he’s “seen women employees breaking down on the floor, reliving the trauma of watching suicides real-time.”Facebook pushed back against allegations of low pay but outlined the work it was doing to improve working conditions for content moderators. In an email, a Genpact spokesperson confirmed that it partners with Facebook but said it doesn’t comment on work with clients. “As a company we bring our extensive experience in the field of content review and operations to our partners by providing industry-leading support for our team of content reviewers and a best-in-class working environment,” the Genpact spokesperson said in a statement. “We take very seriously this work and the services that we provide to our clients.”First published on March 1 at 4:00 a.m. PTUpdate, 4:03 p.m. PT: Includes new material from Facebook about PRO Unlimited. Update, 5:24 p.m. PT: Includes material about an amended lawsuit against Facebook.Update, June 19: Includes new reported details of a Cognizant facility in Tampa, Florida.
There have been reports that there are warring factions within the Indian team. Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesThe Committee of Administrators (CoA) is reportedly not going to discuss the alleged rift in the Indian team at its meeting on Friday as they feel it’s the Indian players who need to bring up the issue, IANS reported. A CoA member while speaking to the news agency stated that they are probably not going to bring up the issue of rifts in the team unless the players mention it themselves, as they cannot act on the basis of media reports only.”The CoA cannot be reacting to reports in the media. If the players have any issue, they can/should bring it up with us. As far as the committee is concerned, there is no rift till the players talk of it with us,” the member told IANS.On the other hand, a senior BCCI official said to the same agency that the CoA needs to address the rifts within the team or ask the manager to submit a report as this rift needs to be resolved. He also asserted that the stories of the rifts need to be laid to rest by taking up the matter seriously. Getty Images”I wish the CoA would really focus on what they are required to focus on — administration. Someone in the CoA seems so hell-bent on getting involved in board politics that the real job has been left undone. We are appalled by the news of rifts in the team coming out daily and at the absence of any effort to either lay the stories to rest or to solve the issue if it really exists. Surely, the manager can be asked to submit a report since it is an administrative issue,” the board official said.After India’s World Cup exit in the semi-final against New Zealand, there have been reports doing the rounds regarding rifts within the team. There were reports that the Indian team has been divided into two groups, one supporting Rohit Sharma and another having their allegiance to Virat Kohli. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.IANSThere was another controversy regarding senior members of the team not being happy with one cricketer for not abiding by the family clause. Many players are also unhappy with the coaching staff. All these controversies need to be resolved soon so that the performance of the team does not get affected. The Men in Blue are going to play three ODIs, two T20 internationals and two Test matches in August during their tour to West Indies. read more
Margaret DeMan Armstrong (Courtesy photo)Margaret DeMan Armstrong, a Baltimore icon known for her groundbreaking contributions to the arts and education, died in her sleep on July 19, at Brookdale Assisted Living in Towson, Maryland. She often mentioned her goal of reaching 100-years-old. In January she celebrated that goal with family and friends at her residence.Armstrong was born January 30, 1916 in Baltimore to the late Claudia Thomas DeMan and the late Henry Oliver DeMan. She was a devout Catholic throughout her life and a parishioner of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. She studied the piano at an early age and demonstrated a unique talent, a love for playing, and an overall love of music.She was a Douglass High School graduate and completed her college education at Coppin Normal School. She later earned a master’s degree in History and Philosophy of Education from Loyola College. She began her career as a music education teacher in Baltimore City Schools and was shortly promoted to administrative specialist for the Music Division for the Baltimore City Department of Education. She also served as a program consultant with the Federal Housing and Urban Development Agency and as the Coordinator of Cultural Enrichment with the Department of Education.Three sons, William Oscar, Roderick, and Carroll Robbins, were born from her marriage to William Oscar Armstrong, Jr., deceased.Armstrong used her creativity, positions, and influence to change the face of the arts in Maryland and across the country. She created a performing arts curriculum proposal and a cultural arts workshop proposal, both successfully and widely implemented. She also created and implemented a cultural enrichment program that combined the arts and humanities through a series of experiences performed by professional musicians, actors, artists, and dancers.Her love of the arts, and her continued determination to encourage and support artistic talent in Baltimore City’s youth, resulted in her bringing together a group of business leaders, leaders in the arts, and education representatives, to draft the fundamental proposal for the Baltimore School for the Arts. It opened in 1979 and has graduated many students who are now nationally known for their talents. The annual “Armstrong Honors Recital” highlights her contributions to the school. The “Margaret DeMan Armstrong Prize for Excellence,” established in 2001, provides an award to honor a deserving graduate who demonstrates a commitment to community service and love of the arts.While Armstrong was the leader for bringing arts to Baltimore City’s Public School children, she also worked as a volunteer with many boards and committees. She created the first International Exchange Program between educators in the Baltimore City Public Schools and educators in Gbarnga, Liberia. She advocated for cultural institutions to be responsive to the needs of African-American children and families who would not be able to afford to attend many of the premiere cultural events in the city. In 1992, Armstrong was a member of the task force that undertook a feasibility study to determine the possibility of creating a middle school for Baltimore City youths. In 1993, the Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy opened as a tuition-free, private Jesuit school for middle school boys from low-income families. Armstrong is survived by her sister, Frances Ashby (daughter Cleo), her son, Roderick (wife Gloria), Barbara Blount Armstrong (daughter-in-law), grandsons, Mario (wife Nicole) and Sean, and a cherished great-grandson, Christopher. She is predeceased by her oldest son, William and her youngest son, Carroll. Armstrong is also survived by cousins Ruth and Kim McCalla, as well as other relatives and friends. Public viewing will be held from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. July 28 at March Family Life Tribute Center, 5616 Old Court Rd., Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral will take place 11 a.m. July 29 at Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Maryland, with viewing from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.In lieu of flowers, contributions in Margaret’s honor can be sent to the Baltimore School for the Arts.Attn: Development OfficeBaltimore School for the Arts Foundation712 Cathedral StreetBaltimore, MD 21201 read more
© 2015 Phys.org PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen More information: A. A. Delorey et al. Cascading elastic perturbation in Japan due to the 2012 Mw 8.6 Indian Ocean earthquake, Science Advances (2015). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500468AbstractSince the discovery of extensive earthquake triggering occurring in response to the 1992 Mw (moment magnitude) 7.3 Landers earthquake, it is now well established that seismic waves from earthquakes can trigger other earthquakes, tremor, slow slip, and pore pressure changes. Our contention is that earthquake triggering is one manifestation of a more widespread elastic disturbance that reveals information about Earth’s stress state. Earth’s stress state is central to our understanding of both natural and anthropogenic-induced crustal processes. We show that seismic waves from distant earthquakes may perturb stresses and frictional properties on faults and elastic moduli of the crust in cascading fashion. Transient dynamic stresses place crustal material into a metastable state during which the material recovers through a process termed slow dynamics. This observation of widespread, dynamically induced elastic perturbation, including systematic migration of offshore seismicity, strain transients, and velocity transients, presents a new characterization of Earth’s elastic system that will advance our understanding of plate tectonics, seismicity, and seismic hazards.Press release Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Following the 2011 M9 Tohoku earthquake, the crust above the plate interface is loaded in extension. Waves from the 2012 M8.6 Sumatra earthquake trigger earthquakes in the loaded crust, which extends the crust offshore and compresses the crust onshore. When the crust onshore is compressed, seismic velocities increase. Credit: Andrew Delorey Study offers explanation for earthquakes setting off distant quakes As the authors note, prior research has revealed sufficient evidence to finger earthquakes happening in one place “causing” an earthquake to occur in another place—using the word “cause” is, however, used in the context of a tipping point, rather than as an underlying factor—for one earthquake to cause another, the second must be nearly ready to go. Such chain-reactions can occur because seismic waves are able to travel great distances through rock. In this new effort, the researchers suggest that seismic waves from one earthquake can cause an elastic disturbance in a distant place, pushing a relatively fragile area into an earthquake.The researchers came to this conclusion after studying seismic data following an earthquake in the Indian Ocean back in April of 2012—just 30 and 50 hours later, two small earthquakes occurred off the eastern coast of Japan. Though the quakes were 3,900 miles apart, the researchers believe they have found a link between them.In studying seismic and GPS data for the time interval of the earthquake in the Indian Ocean, and afterwards, the team found that the quakes occurred in a line formed from the two small quake epicenters and the larger one in the Indian Ocean—a phenomenon they suggest would likely have an odds of occurring without a link of just 1 in 358. They also found a sharp rise in seismic activity in the surrounding area. They propose that seismic waves from the Indian Ocean quake caused what they describe as an elastic disturbance, where material at the fault line was changed, setting off an earthquake in a sensitive place. They also suggest that such an elastic disturbance is much more likely to occur in a place that is still healing from a prior seismic event—in this case, from the devastating 9.0 Tohoku earthquake of 2011.The researchers are not suggesting their work will help predict earthquakes, instead they believe that their findings offer more information on the nature of the Earth’s crust and how it behaves under different conditions. Journal information: Science Advances (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from Los Alamos National Laboratory, MIT and the University of Tokyo, has found evidence that suggests elastic disturbance caused by one earthquake may be one of the causes of another earthquake occurring in a far distant location. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of seismic activity in Japan following an earthquake that occurred in the Indian Ocean, just days before. Citation: Researchers find cascading elastic perturbation likely contributed to small earthquakes in Japan (2015, October 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-10-cascading-elastic-perturbation-contributed-small.html Play Seismicity in Japan detected with inter-station seismic coherence. Red colors indicate the presence of seismic waves. Actual time indicated in upper left corner. Numbers indicate time and location of cataloged seismicity. Credit: Andrew Delorey read more
New Delhi: Newly-elected Trinamool Congress actor-turned-politicians Nusrat Jahan Ruhi and Mimi Chakraborty on Tuesday took oath in Bangla as members of the 17th Lok Sabha. The two could not take oath earlier as Nusrat Jahan recently got married to businessman Nikhil Jain in Turkey and Mimi Chakraborty was attending the wedding ceremony. Nusrat Jahan came to Parliament with a bunch of wedding bangles, in a white and purple saree and had henna based designs on her hands. Mimi also wore an ethnic Indian dress. After taking oath, Nusrat Jehan reportedly said that there were several things on her priority and she will raise the concerns of her voters in the House on Wednesday. Nusrat Jahan was elected from Basirhat and Mimi Chakraborty from Jadhavpur in West Bengal. The two took oath in Bangla and ended it with words like ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Jai Bangla’. read more
State Rep. Joe Bellino, member of the House Insurance Committee, today sponsored an amendment to legislation reforming Michigan’s broken auto no-fault insurance system that guarantees lower rates for all drivers.The amendment, which was unanimously approved by the panel, promises savings on the personal injury protection (PIP) portion of policies for each coverage level.“People being able to save their hard-earned money is my top priority – bottom-line,” said Bellino, of Monroe. “With my amendment, we are guaranteeing that those who choose the $500,000 coverage level or the unlimited coverage will see lower rates in the PIP portion of their plans.”Savings on the PIP portion of policies for each level include:40 percent or greater for drivers who purchase the $250,000 coverage level20 percent or greater for drivers who purchase the $500,000 coverage level; and10 percent or greater for drivers who purchase the unlimited coverage level.The committee then approved House Bill 5013 with the amendment.“I am really excited for the people of Michigan,” Bellino said. “No matter which option people choose that best meets their needs, they will still end up saving money. There is not one special interest happy about this, so you know it’s got to be good for the people.”House Bill 5013 now moves to the full House for consideration. Categories: Bellino News 26Oct Rep. Bellino sponsors amendment guaranteeing auto rate reductions for all read more
AB Group-owned French OTT TV service provider Jook Video has secured a partnership with telecom service provider Iliad Telecom/Free that will see the service made available to Free’s TV customers.Jook Video is now available via the Freebox platform for all Free customers that can receive the IPTV service. The service is available via Freebox TV for a monthly subscription of €1.99.Jook Video carries a mix of content with Hollywood movies including Spider Man, The Matrix, Hancok, Men in Black, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill 1&2 and series including The Big Bang Theory, Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl and Damages as well as local content, including AB Group’s own.The subscription video-on-demand service is already available on Orange‘s platform. read more
5G mobile promises a convergence between mobile and fixed “in a way that hasn’t happened before”, according to Howard Watson, BT Group CIO and CEO of technology, strategy and operators. The technology will also bring about a convergence of mobile and WiFi, Watson told TV Connect attendees yesterday. “This is critical for our agenda,” he said.Watson said that BT is looking to expand its mobile TV offering on the back of its acquisition of EE. BT is looking to bring football to all of EE smartphones, he said.Watson also said that BT will develop its UHD TV offering with the addition of HDR, wider colour gamut and higher frame rates to complement 4K.In the longer term, the company is looking at the impact of virtual reality on sport, said Watson. “With the appropriate VR experience we could bring football matches to life,” he said. However, he said, the technology still has to develop to enable people to more in real time in a virtual environment.Watson also said that deeper social engagement would be part of the future of TV.“How can we use a companion develop smell and texture that really bring experiences to life,” he said.On the need for further technology improvements to the online viewing experience, Watson said it was important to enable Apple and Google to eliminate long buffering periods on adaptive bitrate video and to optimise the use of unicast and multicast. He said there was a need for a sub-two second channel change.Watson said there was also an urgent need to work on “tech literacy” to bring on a cohort of trained technologists tomorrow.TV has delivered quarter-on-quarter successive growth, according to Watson.BT now has as many BT TV customers joining and watching online as it does via broadcast, Watson said. read more