Former and current employees of Cognizant, a third party company contracted by Facebook to moderate the tech giant’s content, have reportedly been struggling to cope with side effects ranging from PTSD and drug abuse to nymphomania as a result of their exposure to violent and graphic material on the platform.
One current employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he has taken to hosting lunchtime orgies as a means of dealing with the stress of moderating ISIS beheading videos, porn and hatespeech all day. He further alleges that one of the Quality Assurance supervisors that oversees his team has been “popping Valium and snorting Xanax to keep him level.”
A QA at Cognizant has been wandering the hallways asking fellow employees if they know that the Earth is actually flat, and mocking those who argue that it is indeed round. Several employees have been holding daily discussions on conspiracy theories involving 9-11 in the company’s break room. Another supervisor has been sharing Alt-Right “propaganda” and “Holohoax videos” on his personal Facebook profile, and was recently terminated from his position after declaring to a coworker that the American media industry is “run by subversive Jews who hate white men.” Anti-vaxxer fliers have begun to mysteriously appear in the hallways, and a piece of paper taped to an employee’s locker advertises a meet-up group for people who are concerned by “chemtrails.”
Cognizant employs several therapists to counsel traumatized employees, however, given the company’s rigorous schedule requirements, several employees have organized a support group that meets at a church two nights a week over instant coffee and mutual despair. Attendants’ political ideologies seemed to vary from one extreme to the other, with very little middle ground, but a shared bond from the mental and emotional effects of their day job.
A balding man with a nervous twitch spoke through thick puffs of cigarette smoke about his issues with chronic masturbation and porn addiction after spending 6 months as a moderator at Cognizant. A young woman with a nose ring drew a long inhale from her vape pen and shared her struggles with alcoholism since being hired on. Neither identified themselves as “mainstream” politically, both seemed to believe in conspiracy theories ranging from the Illuminati to shape-shifting reptilians from another planet. Gabby, a mother of two who recently got hired by Cognizant after spending several years working at WalMart, scrolled through InfoWars articles while talking about the panic attack she’d had earlier that day after witnessing a brutal murder during a livestream that was flagged for moderation.
Cognizant conducted an internal investigation into the proliferation of “fringe political ideologies” among its staff, through a combination of employee surveys and cataloging google searches performed on company-monitored devices. The results showed that at least 63% of Cognizant employees are active on conspiracy forums and fringe media sites, and at least 40% of those polled held views from either the far right or the far left.
It turns out, when you expose several hundred people to a steady stream of edgy memes, violence and conspiracy theories, they begin to explore these ideas, whether it’s out of skepticism or curiosity.