The professional services firm Cognizant will exit the content moderation business in the wake of investigations into poor working conditions at sites dedicated to Facebook, the company said Wednesday.
Thousands of moderators worldwide worked for Cognizant to remove hate speech, terrorism and other content that violates the policies of Facebook and other tech companies, including Google and Twitter. Closing its entire content moderation business will result in the elimination of about 6,000 jobs, reports Reuters.
“We have determined that certain content work in our Digital Operations practice is not in line with our strategic vision for the company and we intend to exit this work over time,” the company told The Verge in a statement. “This work is largely focused on determining whether certain content violates client standards — and can involve objectionable materials.”
The company told the tech news site that it will honor its current contracts but wind down its commitments in 2020.
Several investigative pieces shined a light on working conditions at the company's sites in Arizona and Florida, revealing employees who dealt with post-traumatic stress syndrome from having to view a firehose of graphic and highly disturbing images each day.
A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge that the Arizona and Phoenix sites will both close after March 1.
“One of the reasons we work with partners is to be able to make adjustments quickly to ensure Facebook remains safe for people,” the spokesman said. “Cognizant’s content reviewers have played a valuable role in keeping our platforms safe for people all over the world and we thank them for the work they’ve done and continue to do.”
Cognizant said that people who lose their jobs will be offered retention bonuses, severance packages and "reskilling programs."