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- A Facebook contractor was fired after posting Bruce Springsteen songs on Facebook’s internal forum to protest working conditions, according to The Washington Post.
- Facebook is facing increasing calls to take better care of its contractors, especially moderators whose working conditions and mental health have been the focus of recent media reports.
- The contractor said when he was fired, he was told his choice of lyrics was considered a safety issue for the company.
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A Facebook contractor was fired for posting lyrics from Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, and Gil Scott Heron to protest how the company treated third-party workers, The Washington Post reports.
The Austin-based contractor posted the lyrics amid rising tensions between the company and its contract workers, as media reports surfaced about Facebook moderators being underpaid and suffering mental health issues from sifting through the deep river of disturbing content on the platform.
The fired contracter, who wished to remain anonymous, worked for an Accenture subsidiary and was not a moderator — his job was to monitor for ad scams, according to the Post.
His protest came in response to a letter placed on Facebook’s internal forum, Workplace, by COO Sheryl Sandberg in May. She said contractors pay would go up to $20 per hour in the Bay Area and $18 per hour in the rest of the US. Sandberg added that on-site counselling would be available to moderators, even at unusual hours.
In a message responding to Sandberg’s letter, the contractor reportedly complained of unrealistic expectations, overbearing management — who he said audited workers’ bathroom visits — and a lack of promotion opportunities in the three-and-a-half years he had been in his role.
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Facebook’s head of contingent workforce Keith Wulffraat responded to the contractor’s post saying his team would work to "better understand" his concerns.
The contractor then started posting Bruce Springsteen YouTube videos, including lyrics such as: "End of the day, factory whistle cries; men walk through these gates with death in their eyes; and you just better believe, boy; somebody’s gonna get hurt tonight."
He also posted "Know Your Rights" by the Clash and "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott Heron.
He was suspended two days later, and had a phone call with Wulffraat and an Accenture HR executive during his suspension. The Post reviewed a recording of the call, in which the HR exec said his choice of lyrics was "interesting and concerning," and said others had complained. He was fired the following week, and told the Post his choice of lyrics posed a safety issue for the company.
"We don’t ask for anyone to be removed from our account without good reason," a Facebook spokesman told Business Insider.
Accenture was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Business Insider, and declined to comment when contacted by the Post.
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