The Content Moderator Living Next Door

icuc-editor

October 31, 2014

It seems we have people interested in what we do on this “dark” side of the internet. We have the Wired article (which we talked about over here) and now we have the Business Insider article over here.

Now I’m certainly not complaining about the coverage our industry is getting. As far as I am concerned, the more the better. Bring on the spotlight, and — oh ya — if you are looking for a profile shot to feature our company, the right side of our logo is our best side. Or so we’ve been told.

For the most part these recent articles call out the bad, the ghoulish and the grisly side of our industry. That’s fine. It reads well. I find that stuff interesting too, but I wanted to jump into the conversation because — no matter how many stories or articles people read about the content moderation industry — many people still don’t “get it” and are clueless to understand who and what type of person is behind the scenes managing this content.

Twelve years later and people still look at me with a quizzical look on their face when they ask about ICUC. Believe me, It is always very interesting crossing the border and answering the question of “what do you do for a living?”

Really”? is generally the dumbfounded response someone gives you after you explain to them about the work of content moderation.

You see — most people don’t think about this side of the business because they “don’t see it”. The garbage strewn, posted and reposted across the internet is something that we work hard to remove before it’s visible. The “spam”, you could call it. You don’t see it because our employees are getting rid of it before it flashes across your screen. You don’t see the large team of people around the world managing this content.

Let me tell you a little secret…..The internet is filled with garbage.

What a surprise eh?

With more than 14.5 billion spam pieces of content appearing online per day, there’s little wonder why content moderation specialists are held in such high regard in our company. Somebody needs to get rid of this stuff.

Yes, we have technology to help us. Of course we do. But the last time I checked, it was people that was creating all of this content that needs to be managed. Machines are good at helping but not great at completing a task. Because of the nature of much of this content, we ensure these specialists are provided with supportive management and career flexibility.

Contrary to what some believe, we don’t hire closet monkeys — people living in closets making 50 cents per hour. Do some content specialists make different wages living in different parts of the world. Yes. Should they be penalized and treated differently for that? No.

True to our company beliefs and practices since 2002, what we are is this:

A unique, global, virtual work model that improves the lives of all of our team members on several levels. They are able to spend more time with their children, spend less time commuting (polluting), and have the ability to focus on results in the comfortable environments of their own homes. — ICUC

While we don’t have a physical office, we are a collective of people with teams spread through a wide variety of timezones speaking an even wider variety of languages.

They aren’t nameless people behind a computer terminal or sitting in a closet. They’re individuals like Craig from Toronto. Vannie from Birmingham. Connie from Mexico. Nicole from Florida. Lucia from Romania. They are the real superstars of the internet.

These are the people that are responsible for sorting through those 14.5 billion spam messages daily.

They’re the team that helps ensure websites are free and clear of inappropriate content, providing a safe environment for you and your family to interact and engage on your favorite sites.

You know what I mean.

So what is my point you might ask?

The next time you engage with your favorite Facebook page or Twitter account, take a moment to be thankful for the spam-free experience you are able to enjoy.

But just remember — that content moderation specialist working under the cloak of darkness, it might just be your neighbour.