Apparently the idea of being able to sit on ones fat ass and ostensibly get paid to “surf porn” for YouTube is not the dream job that it’s all cracked up to be:
“You have 20-year-old kids who get hired to do content review, and who get excited because they think they are going to see adult porn,” said Hemanshu Nigam, the former chief security officer at MySpace. “They have no idea that some of the despicable and illegal images they will see can haunt them for the rest of their lives.”
What is it that is so despicable about the imagery submitted to YouTube? Our always-connected culture has turned to uploading photographs of graphic gang killings, animal abuse, twisted forms of pornography (although “twisted” is quite subjective) and intense bullying. Videos containing this content are flagged, which is where the reviewers come in to play. They attempt to determine whether the material is safe for public consumption on Google’s flagship video sharing site.
Being constantly bombarded with such horrific imagery is taking its toll on the content screening team members, who are increasingly turning to professional psychological assistance to help them deal with problems associated with the evil content they are subjected to daily.
One major outsourcing firm with staff in the Philippines was aware of the risks of this type of work and hired a local psychologist to assess how it was affecting its 500 content moderators. The psychologist, Patricia M. Laperal of Behavioral Dynamics, said she had developed a screening test so the company could evaluate potential employees, and helped its supervisors identify signals that the work was taking a toll on employees.
Ms. Laperal also reached some unsettling conclusions in her interviews with content moderators. She said they were likely to become depressed or angry, have trouble forming relationships and suffer from decreased sexual appetites. Small percentages said they had reacted to unpleasant images by vomiting or crying.
It sure sounds like working as a content reviewer is not the glamorous job you might think it to be. While some folks are sure to be more sensitive to the imagery, as a whole it appears to be pretty tough to be constantly subjected to malicious content.
With video sharing being so pervasive young folks have this idea that all they need to do to become famous on the internets is create the next greatest viral video. A small percentage of folks appear to be taking that to the extreme, using the opportunity to take advantage of people.
If you believe that your ticket to stardom is hurting someone on a video submitted to YouTube then you are sadly mistaken – do something more constructive with your time and – here’s a novel idea – work for the fame.