By Justin Osofsky, VP of Global Operations
We know there are a lot of questions, misunderstandings and accusations around Facebook’s content review practices — including how we as a company care for and compensate the people behind this important work. We are committed to working with our partners to demand a high level of support for their employees; that’s our responsibility and we take it seriously. We know there are going to be incidents of employee dissatisfaction or hardship that call our commitment into question, which is why we’re taking the steps outlined below to continue to set and enforce the expectations we have for our partners.
Below is a post I shared with employees over the weekend about how we approach this work. It has been edited only to remove internal links.
First, a bit of background. Over the past couple of years, as you know, we have substantially scaled our investment in safety and security including rapidly growing our content review teams. We’ve more than doubled this team each of the last two years, adding thousands of people to these efforts. The majority are people who work full time for our partners and work at sites managed by these partners.
In order to scale this quickly, we developed partnerships with highly reputable global partners like Accenture, Cognizant, Genpact and others with good standards for their employee care. For context, Accenture, Cognizant and all of our partners work on projects for multiple clients simultaneously. Accenture employs over 450,000 people in over 200 cities globally and Cognizant employs over 280,000 people. These partnerships are important because they allow us to work with established companies who have a core competency in this type of work and who are able to help us ramp with location and language support quickly. They have experience managing large workforces; scaling quickly for new issues and risks; and adapting with us as the risks to our community and product needs change over time. And, as our needs evolve and we shift focus from an area where our work has grown more mature to an emerging area, we can work in real-time with Accenture, Cognizant and our other partners to address those needs.
A lot of the recent questions are focused on ensuring the people working in these roles are treated fairly and with respect. We want to continue to hear from our content reviewers, our partners and even the media – who hold us accountable and give us the opportunity to improve. This is such an important issue, and our Global Ops leadership team has focused substantial attention on it and will continue to do so.
However, given the size at which we operate and how quickly we’ve grown over the past couple of years, we will inevitably encounter issues we need to address on an ongoing basis. Today, we already have mechanisms in place with our partners who run these sites to make sure any concerns being reported are the uncommon exception and never the norm. These mechanisms include:
- Clear contracts. Our agreements with our partners explicitly require good facilities, wellness breaks for employees, and resiliency support.
- Regular site visits. Our partner management teams regularly visit our partner sites to observe the workplace, and help address any issues. These visits include 1:1 conversations and focus groups with content reviewers to make sure that our teams can get direct feedback from the people doing this important work.
- Business reviews. We conduct weekly calls, regular visits, and monthly and quarterly business reviews with our partners to discuss their performance against our expectations; this includes assessing the workplace and how well they’re delivering on wellness and resiliency support.
We’ve done a lot of work in this area and there’s a lot we still need to do. Arun Chandra recently joined us to lead our vendor partner management efforts for Global Operations – including Business Integrity (BI), Product Data Operations (PDO) and Community Operations (CO). He’s focused squarely on the wellness and experience of our vendor partner employees and is driving several initiatives aimed at continuing to improve the support they receive. Some of these key initiatives include:
- Partner compliance and audit program. We are putting in place a rigorous and regular compliance and audit process for all of our outsourced partners to ensure they are complying with the contracts and care we expect. This will include even more regular and comprehensive focus groups with vendor employees than we do today.
- Contract standardization. With the formation of Global Ops last year, we are standardizing all our contracts across CO, BI, and PDO to ensure consistent terms of care and resiliency programming across all areas of business. This will also include an increase in our requirements and expectations that goes beyond our current contracts.
- Partner summit. In April, Arun and our Global Ops leadership team will bring the leadership of all of our partner sites, across CO, BI, PDO and others, together in Menlo Park for a Facebook Vendor Partner Summit. The purpose of this summit is to bring our partners and their employees closer to our mission and culture. We will reinforce our expectations for our partners, provide in-depth sessions on wellness and resiliency, quality, and training, and address some of the recent concerns and reinforce our standards on wellness and support. Both Facebook and our partners take wellness and support seriously and approach it holistically and proactively. This is just the beginning of our efforts to bring partners together, align on our expectations and build best practices, starting with this summit.
- Improved partner support and communications. We encourage all partner employees to raise any concerns with their employers’ HR teams. Additionally, they can anonymously raise concerns directly to Facebook via our whistleblower hotline, and Facebook will follow up on the issue appropriately. In addition to our regular touch points already mentioned, we will continue to improve communication channels particularly with sites managed by partners. In addition to understanding partner employee concerns, other key focus areas will be to more seamlessly communicate policy updates and deliver training materials and other resources.
We will regularly evaluate these roles, our needs going forward, the risks, location, mix of the workforce and many more areas.
Put simply, after a couple of years of very rapid growth, we’re now further upgrading our work in this area to continue to operate effectively and improve at this size. Going forward, John, Arun, our Global Ops leadership team and I will continue to share our progress and steps forward on this important topic with you.