Alternate Format Assignment: The Life of a Facebook Moderator

9 minutes long; all sources are listed in the video description on YouTube

This an adaptation of the following portion of my first reaction paper:

Back in February, Casey Newton wrote an article for The Verge about the experiences of some of the people who review reported content on Facebook. Their job is a balance of “striving to purge Facebook of its worst content while protecting the maximum amount of legitimate (if uncomfortable) speech,” and they are evaluated based on their efficiency and accuracy. The article goes over many sickening aspects of the situation, such as how employees are allotted very little break time because of the sheer number of posts there are to review. Viewing horrific posts like video of people being killed causes many of the workers to develop PTSD or other mental illnesses. Consistent exposure to offensive humor and conspiracy theories bleeds into their personal lives and, seemingly antithetical to the purpose of the space, creates a working atmosphere where these things are tolerated. Most of the former employees interviewed for the article quit the job after a year.

Reflection

I used iMovie to make this video because I’ve used the program many times before. It’s pretty easy to use once you get used to it. I was inspired to make a video for this project after seeing the clip of Congresswoman Katie Porter questioning Mark Zuckerberg on the same things that had been in the article I wrote about for Reaction Paper 1. Initially, I planned to just put quotes from the article through a text-to-speech program and intercut it with the congress video; however, when I went back to the article, I found that its author, Casey Newton, had done a podcast interview about his research. So I listened through once, taking notes on when certain topics were brought up. Then I downloaded it, brought it into iMovie, chopped it up, cut stuff, and moved other stuff around.

I think the video communicates my idea well. Hearing Casey and the interviewer discuss the former’s findings makes the topic more engaging than just reading a long article. The interview sums up Casey’s longer points in a way that helps the listener keep track of things better. And the confrontation between Congresswoman Porter and Zuckerberg adds extra emotion and drama. It’s a bit of catharsis amid the horrifying recountings of the experiences of the contractors.

In terms of things I wasn’t fully satisfied with by the end of the project, I had some trouble coming up with ideas for the video’s visuals. If I had planned my time better, I might have recorded more Facebook ads to have play under Casey’s commentary. It was also difficult deciding which parts of the interview to use and which to cut. On one hand, there was a lot of interesting information in there… but on one hand, I figure I could have made my video shorter, especially with the previously mentioned lack of visual variety.

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