Moderators of the World Unite – landmark summit in Berlin of social media content moderators fighting for fairer workplacesJulia Kloiber
Social media as we know it depends on the work of tens of thousands of content moderators worldwide. Without this hidden army of key safety workers, there is no Facebook, no TikTok, no YouTube and no Google.
These platforms simply couldn’t exist without moderators working every day to remove millions of toxic posts from our feeds. They keep the internet safe for all of us. Yet despite their essential role, which comes at a terrible cost to their mental health, they remain underpaid and outsourced.
This will be the first ever gathering of social media content moderators from across Germany. Forty or so content moderators from multiple social media companies will connect and develop relationships with organisers, policymakers, and lawyers, to build collective power and demand better pay and working conditions at Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and more.
The summit is the first step towards building an international network of moderators working across the world for the various social media companies. It is the culmination of years of work by workers, unions and civil society groups to establish and strengthen relationships of trust between tech workplaces and, eventually, across national borders.
Moderators will discuss what needs to change to make moderation work safe, fair and valued. They will also meet with politicians and political parties in Germany and Europe to discuss what they can do to support them.
Content moderators’ work is global work, affecting workers and social media audiences worldwide. Reflecting that, the Berlin summit will be the first of three content moderator summits in the pipeline, which will be held around the world.
The Berlin summit is just one part of a rising tide of worker power taking the fight to Big Tech, alongside the newly founded works council at TikTok Germany and former content moderator Daniel Motaung’s lawsuit against Facebook and their outsourcing company Sama in Kenya. Workers are realising the power they hold, working together and taking back control.
This work is supported by a grant from reset.tech