TikTok has scooped up hundreds of content moderators from companies such as Accenture, Covalen and Cpl, according to a Financial Times analysis. Social media competitors like Facebook have outsourced their content moderation efforts to some of these firms.
The short-form video service told the FT that it has hired several hundred moderators in the U.K. and Ireland since January 2021. TikTok, a subsidiary of China's ByteDance, offers these moderators in-house positions with better salaries and benefits in an effort to stand out from rivals like YouTube and Facebook.
“Our continuous investment in our trust and safety operations reflects our focus on maintaining TikTok as a place for creativity and entertainment,” Cormac Keenan, global head of Trust and Safety at TikTok, told the FT.
Content moderation for social networks has gotten increasing attention for its harmful effects on workers’ mental health. Moderators for Facebook and YouTube were ordered to sign forms acknowledging the job can give them PTSD, as they’re exposed to images ranging from child abuse to terrorism, and Facebook is facing lawsuits from moderators who have experienced various mental health conditions.
One moderator who joined TikTok from Accenture last year told the FT that the service's benefits and environment are better. Another content moderator, who left YouTube for TikTok, said they still witness disturbing content but receive more psychological support from TikTok.