In an internal letter to the leadership of WhatsApp, Facebook, and Accenture, more than 100 Spanish-language moderators and customer service representatives for WhatsApp alleged that Accenture, the contract company through which they work, was not paying them equally for their services, in comparison to moderators of content in other languages like Portuguese and Arabic. According to a report from Gizmodo, the workers spend their days responding to reports from users and moderating content in Spanish, but do not receive the $2 hourly premium that their counterparts working in other languages do.
“For several years now, Accenture, Facebook, and Whatsapp have denied equal treatment and pay to Spanish language contingent workers. It is an insult for companies like Facebook and Accenture to publicly champion diversity, but yet fail to deliver this to its own workers,” reads the letter, which Gizmodo shared in the report. “We demand the hourly language premium offered to bilingual hires of all languages also be offered to the Spanish language.”
WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, outsources content moderators through Accenture, a Dublin-based company that provides information technology services. According to the letter, workers had filed complaints with Accenture’s management about the unfair gap in compensation, to no avail. Many individuals working with Accenture’s team of Spanish-language content moderators believe the pay gap to be a racist and discriminatory policy. “Managers and HR reps for Accenture have … actively engaged in ensuring this gross injustice go unacknowledged and unaddressed,” the staff members wrote.
Content moderation on social media sites can be a notoriously difficult and emotionally taxing job — some content moderators for Facebook have claimed to suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of spending days reviewing graphic, often violent content. In 2020, Facebook reached a $52 million settlement with content moderators who developed PTSD while working on the job, however the job remains a relatively thankless position, as content moderators typically make far less than the median yearly salary of other Facebook employees.
“Contingent workers are at the core of Facebook’s and Accenture’s business models. Contingent workers are critical to the health and safety of it’s multiple platforms, projects, and products,” the letter reads. “And yet the companies treat contingent workers unfairly and with complete disregard.”