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Recode Daily: Inside the harrowing lives of Facebook’s content moderators

Plus: YouTube considers changes to its content for kids, Slack prepares to go public, and Facebook is called for a Senate hearing on its crypto plans.

A Facebook sign at a trade show. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Facebook’s content moderators shared their traumatic experiences sifting through the internet’s violent content. The Verge’s Casey Newton, who first reported on the working conditions of Facebook’s content moderators in February, took a deep dive at the daily lives of workers at another content moderation site in Tampa, Florida. The office, run by third-party contractor firm Cognizant, is described as a hellish environment of nonstop stress and inadequate support for employees. One employee died of a heart attack on the job. Day-to-day, workers described “a filthy workplace in which they regularly find pubic hair and other bodily waste at their work stations” and said that management would “laugh off or ignore sexual harassment and threats of violence.”
[Casey Newton / The Verge]

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YouTube is reportedly considering moving all children’s content into its separate YouTube Kids app to “better protect young viewers from objectionable videos.” The Wall Street Journal’s Rob Copeland called it a “seismic and risky switch, as children’s videos are among the most popular on the platform and carry millions of dollars in advertising.” The changes are partly motivated by a continuing Federal Trade Commission investigation, according to the Journal’s sources. The investigation was prompted by a complaint last year from consumer groups that accused YouTube of illegally gathering data about children under 13 without their parents’ approval and showing children inappropriate videos. Some of the company’s employees are also reportedly urging the company to turn off “auto play” for children.
[Rob Copeland / The Wall Street Journal]

Slack is going public at a valuation of about $15.7 billion. The workplace messaging company is the second major company in the past year to skip the traditional IPO route and file for a direct listing, following Spotify’s listing about a year ago. The New York Stock Exchange set the reference price of $27 per share for the company. Reportedly, Airbnb has also been considering doing a direct listing. Now, all eyes are on Slack to see how its direct listing performs and if more tech companies follow suit.
[Corrie Driebusch and Maureen Farrell / The Wall Street Journal]

The US government has some questions about Facebook’s new cryptocurrency plans. The Senate Banking Committee announced it is holding a hearing for Facebook about its global cryptocurrency, libra, on July 16. Reuters called the news of the hearing “the latest sign that policymakers around the globe are casting a wary eye on the project.” Policymakers will ask about a topic that Facebook has had a less-than-stellar record on: data privacy. David Marcus, who heads Facebook’s blockchain efforts, is expected to testify, according to Reuters. Facebook plans to launch libra globally in the first half of next year.
[Pete Schroeder / Reuters]

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