Facebook now paying $18 an hour to block suicide videos and other disturbing content

Facebook is giving its content moderators a raise, months after a series of media reports shed light on the often harsh working conditions for the people keeping the social network's platform safe.

The minimum wage for content moderators at the social media company, most of whom work as independent contractors rather than full employees, will be $18 per hour, Facebook announced Monday. Moderators working in New York, Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area will earn an hourly minimum of $22, while those in Seattle will get $20, the company said in a nod to the higher cost of living in these cities.

In some cities, Facebook moderators now earn $15 per hour, according to media reports. The improved pay, which translates to full-time annual earnings of $36,000 to $45,700, will take effect by the middle of next year.

In February, a report by technology industry news publisher The Verge described difficult working conditions for Facebook moderators, including reviewing disturbing content dealing with torture, bestiality, suicide and murder. Some workers coped with the job strains by smoking marijuana or otherwise self-medicating. They also reported being unable to access counseling or mental-health services through their employer, a tech services provider called Cognizant hired by Facebook. Several former contractors have sued Facebook, claiming their work for the company gave them post-traumatic stress order.

As part of Monday's announcement, Facebook said it would allow moderators to "temporarily blur graphic images by default before reviewing them." It will also require its vendors to provide on-site counseling "during all hours of operations, not just certain hours of each shift."

Facebook also said all content reviewers, whether contract workers or full-time employees, have access to what it called "well-being and resiliency resources," including group and individual counseling. Moderators also have health care benefits.

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