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The In-House Decency Patrol At Facebook 157

Posted by timothy
from the keeping-the-milquetoast-lukewarm dept.
theodp writes "How'd you like a job where you get fired if you DON'T view porn at work? Newsweek reports on Facebook's internal police force of 150 staffers who are charged with regulating users' decorum, hunting spammers and working with actual law-enforcement agencies to help solve crimes. Part hall monitors, part vice cops, the $50,000-a-year 'porn cops' also keep Facebook safe for corporate advertisers."
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The In-House Decency Patrol At Facebook

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  • by ionix5891 (1228718) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:05AM (#27805177)

    there are people who get PAID to view porn?!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:24AM (#27805271)

      yep. my first "job"ã(back in high school) was translating pirated movies for a small video shop somewhere in Eastern Europe.

      more than half of what i had to do was porn, and i liked it, because it was easier than normal films, and paid the same.

      and the hard ons were for free.

      good times ...

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Because you can't strategically place microphones, half the words are unintelligable, and the other half don't need translating. Did you just make up your own scripts to suit the action?

    • by impaledsunset (1337701) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:26AM (#27805283)

      Call me when they pay me to view porn _and_ read Slashdot.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:28AM (#27805293)

      I work for a web hosting company that caters to the adult industry. Looking at porn is a job requirement.

      However, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Porn doesn't discriminate.

      I'll let you figure it out.

    • by jo42 (227475) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:29AM (#27805295) Homepage

      Imagine that. I've also heard that there are people who get paid to MAKE porn!!

    • by GF678 (1453005) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:09AM (#27805465)

      there are people who get PAID to view porn?!

      You know those porn sites on that there Interwebz? Well guess what... each and every single one needs someone to at the very least maintain and run the sites, if not to adjust/crop/re-size/airbrush the material.

      I remember reading the first-hand experiences of a guy hired to maintain such a site. The end result was that he found himself totally desensitized to the material, even the really hardcore stuff, to the point that porn had absolutely no thrill. So be aware of this if you every find the opportunity to check out porn on a daily basis. :)

      • by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @10:12AM (#27805833) Journal

        You also have to consider that what you will be looking at is mostly homemade stuff that is probably not very exciting, maybe even a little off putting. Most people don't look to good shoot under poor light with a low res cell phone camera. I suspect this is going to be a good deal of what you find on facebook.

        Light does a lot, a photo of female with a shadow on her often makes it appear as if she has hair. Ever wonder why professional photographers almost always use direct light on girls in studio work? They don't do this as much with men which they may shoot under flood because a little darkness on parts of the face make him appear rugged and manly. Then you have all those dorm room fluorescents that are going to make people look pale or green. Finally most people are just not as good looking as models who are almost always air brushed themselves.

        Now when this is your girl friend or something your brain can sorta compensate for the unflattering camera effects, you can image what she really looks like and its possible very arousing. When its someone you don't know you are going to see what is on the page. So when you girl or guy friend sends you a titillating image its fun, when you are sifting though other peoples images I don't much of it is going to be a turn on. As to the models being air brushed and such, well again when its someone you have affection for you probably see what you want to see, when its someone you don't know well; her breasts are really uneven and her nose is sort big etc etc.

        Finally although our society is much more open about the female form than the male; I am sure Facebook has its share of flamers and men sending pictures to their girlfriends alike. Truly, I don't think many men are as disgusted at seeing other men nude as most of us pretend. Its not like we don't see dick when we look down in the shower every morning. Still this is probably going to be at least of fourth of the images or so; that is 25% of the time you are just classifying what to you are uninteresting images. If I was doing something as dull as identifying common images a quarter of the time I was at the office, I would get to hate work pretty fast.

        Frankly sifting though slightly off putting images for eight hours day, with only a handful of them making me go "Nice" sounds like a pretty terrible job.

        • by Kokuyo (549451) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @10:41AM (#27806047) Journal

          That would be a matter of taste, now wouldn't it? Personally, I'm just fed up with all those Paris Hilton wannabes wit porno pouts and oh so realistic 'acting'. I am fed up with silicone tits on top of malnourished torsos.

          I'd rather look at someone's chubby girlfriend really having fun than most of those 'professionals'.

          • I agree. And given the choice between a chubby amateur and a thin amateur, I'd rather choose the healthier one who isn't on the verge of a coronary aneurysm... which eliminates about 90% of all Americans and Europeans. ;-)

            • by fugue (4373)

              Welllllll... there's "thin" in the sense of healthy athlete body, and there's "thin" in the sense of malnutrition. People can have remarkably little fat and still look amazing if they go about it in the right way.

              Of course, we've designed a culture in which very few people get regular exercise in the course of a day. Going to a gym can produce gorgeous bodies too, but it's a huge PITA. If you want hot chycks, see what you can do to promote a society that doesn't depend on cars!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As somebody who is getting out of the porn industry, I can vouche for this. It is like guys who print money all day. Yeah, you work with billions of dollars a day, but to you it is basically paper.

        Plus, assholes will eventually leek a password to your paid content and use up 10TB of your bandwidth in a few days, costing you several thousand dollars in overages. That and everybody in the industry are a bunch of damn flakes running out of their kitchen table. Ever tried to deposit a 30,000 dollar Canadian

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          If I operated a porn business, I'd make sure it's only stuff I personally enjoy. Like the guy who runs the DOMAI website - nothing but nude images of women. He refuses to deal with anything else, since he doesn't enjoy anything else. That's the way to enjoy both life and your career.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            and your career.

            That is the problem though. There is a stigma built around working in the adult industry that makes any skills you picked up working in it hard to transfer. How do you put "created a streaming webcam with credit-based billing" on your resume? I mean, how do you move forward post-porn without lying on your resume?

            Plus, even while you work in the industry, life is hard. Most hosts won't take you, and if they do, you are liable to be dumped at a moments notice. Banks dont like you. CC com

            • Well first off, if you like your job, why quit? That was the point of my previous post.

              Second I would hire you even if you said you worked for playboy.com. It wouldn't bother me where you worked so long as you have the skills I need to maintain my business website, but then I'm not like the typical American who's afraid of his own prick. Your background wouldn't bother me.

        • by Firehed (942385)

          assholes will eventually leek [sic] ... screw it ... black hole ... get out quickly

          Looks like long-term involvement in the porn industry has a negative impact on your diction as well.

      • Yup. A buddy of mine is a professional and artistic photographer. I separate the two not because they necessarily need to be different, but what he does is he whores himself out for six months of the year, taking pictures for Bob Vila, Architectural Digest, and other major money-making pubs, and then disappears into some third-world jungle for the other six months to take pictures of animals, indigenous locals, and natural- and man-made wonders.

        When he was cutting his teeth and building enough of a nam
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "there are people who get PAID to view porn?!"

      I had a job like this.

      I use to work in the Network Solutions Ecommerce department (netsol sux btw, fired half the staff feb 09 because they chased all their customers away). We had A LOT of adult shops and porn sites. Sub-shop.com [sub-shop.com] is the only one that still comes to mind, but it doesn't have much porn on it. They would need help with adding pictures or videos or whatever. Had to make sure the videos played correctly and the pictures lined up.
    • *yawn* (Score:3, Informative)

      by GregGardner (66423)

      When I worked at Xoom.com (of the "free homepages" fame ala geocities) over 10 years ago, we had several people on staff with the same job. But instead of 'porn cops' we jokingly referred to them as 'porn whackers'. The biggest reason for having people paid to go through this stuff was to remove kiddie porn and report it to the FBI.

    • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:44PM (#27807001) Homepage Journal

      Heh, let's put it this way, at BellTV there are cubicles on the fifth floor of one of the buildings with explicit 'stop' signs on them with some explanation that if you walk into one of those cubicles you may see something that may offend you, well, if you do walk in you may see maybe 10 monitors with at least some of them showing porn and there are people sitting there looking at it and it is part of the job. They are basically QAs that really have to watch this stuff all the time. And they get paid to do this.

  • by downix (84795) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:09AM (#27805193) Homepage

    First it's the Sweedish tax collectors, now facebook! I am in the wrong line of business!

  • by Norsefire (1494323) * on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:12AM (#27805207) Journal
    They pay 150 people $50k a year to do this when if they promised people a few hundred Texas Hold 'Em chips per report they could have millions doing it for free.
  • by mc1138 (718275) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:16AM (#27805223) Homepage
    As exciting as this seems at first, I'm sure it gets real old real fast, and isn't nearly as cool as it seems.
  • 50k$ is not enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bearhouse (1034238) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:17AM (#27805227)

    For such a boring job.

    • I was thinking the same thing, I figure

      Boring == menial == low paid.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Threni (635302)

        Unskilled = anyone can do it = no-one cares what you think = just shut up and do it or we'll get someone eles in = low paid

    • It pays a good bit more than flipping burgers, and is a lot more honest than telemarketing.

    • The salary is just a market figure. If someone isn't happy with $50k, bam, they're gone and they bring in someone new. As long as it doesn't happen too often and it doesn't cost too much to train new workers (neither of which should be), $50k is a fine salary for Facebook to spend on them.
    • by Flere Imsaho (786612) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:34PM (#27811349)
      Just be thankful you're not being paid to watch necrophilia-based porn - that's dead boring. In contrast, the incest related stuff is only relatively boring.
  • Rampant Sexism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:20AM (#27805243) Homepage Journal

    I hate how incredibly sexist the filtering is. Both sexes (generally) have a pair of nipples that appear very similar, so for one pair to be fine for prime-time television, and another pair to be fined for a fleeting appearance on TV seems very silly.

    It isn't the shape of the female breast that is the issue, as a picture of a model wearing a skimpy swimming suit would pass. Male nipples? Also just fine.

    Female Nipples? WHOAH, STOP THE PRESSES!
    (Even if the nipple is currently feeding a child [cnn.com])

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Welp, this is a larger societal issue, not just an issue with facebook.

      There are protests around the world where women basically go topless and get arrested for it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      I for one welcome our firm, C-cup overlords.

      • by Swizec (978239)
        There are protests where large gatherings of women walk/sit around topless? Can I go ... err ... help?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by corsec67 (627446)

          There are protests where large gatherings of women walk/sit around topless? Can I go ... err ... help?

          If you are exposed to breasts frequently enough, they wouldn't be as titillating.

          Like the women that work at Onsens and Sento in Japan: when I went to a Sento [wikipedia.org] (bath house), I didn't see a single male attendant. The women attendants would walk around cleaning stuff, and the nude men(myself included) would just ignore them.

          • Re:Rampant Sexism (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Swizec (978239) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:39AM (#27805617) Homepage
            Unlike the average slashdotter I'm exposed to breasts at least every day and to be quite honest, they never stop being the single best toy in the world. Breasts are fun. End of story.
            • by orange47 (1519059) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:24AM (#27806415)
              aww, how cute, baby learned to type already..
            • by deander2 (26173) *

              i second this, and add that it remains true even after you get married. =p

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Unlike the average slashdotter I'm exposed to breasts at least every day and to be quite honest, they never stop being the single best toy in the world. Breasts are fun. End of story.

              Just because you (unlike the average slashdotter) are a woman, doesn't mean you have to rub it in what you get to do every day...

            • by cp.tar (871488)

              Even though I do not get such amounts of exposure, I got more than a fair share. And I've seen them in all shapes and sizes, including all the grandmothers in the nudist camp where we used to spend our summers when I was a kid.
              They are like toy trains - made for kids, but we adults hog all the fun.

              There is nothing better than boobs for resting my eyes. Or hands.

      • Re:Rampant Sexism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by oliderid (710055) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:09AM (#27806307) Journal

        There are protests around the world where women basically go topless and get arrested for it

        Not in most european countries IMHO (Techno parades, beaches,etc).

        I didn't think that the restrictive Facebook policy could be that conservative. Topless "forbidden!", mothers breast feeding children "forbidden!"...I'm quite surprised.

        American media companies have no problem to show a crime scene with blood everywhere and a victim lying on the ground. but a healthy female body is considered more obscene than that. I find it so absurd in a way.

    • by sam0737 (648914)

      I am thinking is CamelToe banned in their ToS...

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      I wouldn't say it's sexism, I'd just say that it highlights how fundamentally different in function and nature nipples are perceived depending on the sex of the owner in our society.

      You can read more about it in my new sociological thesis, Nipples: the Taboo on Your Chest.

    • Easy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aepervius (535155)
      Male nipple aren't that exciting and don't seem to be a primary atractor to female human, but the contrary, female niplle seem to be a very primary sexual arouser for female human especially with rising size, or the puffing of the nipple (showing sexual receptivity). So your point is pointless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Velex (120469)

      I hate how incredibly sexist the filtering is.

      What's even worse is that it's females who are demanding it. Just think of the children! An exposed female breast could traumatize a small child, especially when they're under the age of 2!

      Seriously.

  • I'm aware that the advertizing is targeted, but all I ever see are ads for dating sites or russian mail-order brides.

      Oh, and those "free" credit report companies, who make the russian mailorder bride people look reputable.

      Also, isn't facebook losing money hand over fist anyway? They'd probably do better if they moved to a subscription model that let you look at other user's porn.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've worked in internet advertising and know how important ads are to many useful services AND that they often contain info I actually want to see and click (job openings, products that interest me, etc.).

      So while I use adblock, I have very limited block list that I have personally made. It consists of: Ads that blink so much they literally hurt your eyes, ads that very clearly lie ("you are millionth visitor" or adult friend finder ads) and... that's pretty much it. The list has gotten quite long but still

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      Well that explains why I keep getting ads asking whether I'd make a good boyfriend.

  • No thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by runlevelfour (1329235) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:26AM (#27805285)
    Familiarity breeds contempt. Not only would the questionable perk of viewing porn and other amusing things become boring after constant exposure, you get to wade through the eyesore garbage people post on their page as well. Sounds like an easy gig, but one can imagine that there is a constant mountain of paperwork and reports to fill out. If you ask me it smacks of a highly paid glorified clerk job.
    • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara@hudson.barbara-hudson@com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:17AM (#27805501) Journal

      Familiarity breeds contempt. Not only would the questionable perk of viewing porn and other amusing things become boring after constant exposure,

      Kind of makes you want to feel sorry for gynecologists ...

      ... except the blind ones - they can still read lips.

    • by mrsquid0 (1335303)

      The highly-paid part sounds like it could make up for the glorified clerk part to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gonoff (88518)

      Familiarity breeds contempt

      Some clever person once said "without some familiarity, there's not a lot of breeding anyway."

    • Truth - did no one see TFA mention a guy in a thong? Come on, what heterosexual guy (or homosexual female) who wants to see that while working.
      • by cp.tar (871488)

        Most heterosexual females I know would not like to see that.
        Not even most of the homosexual men I know would like that.
        Almost everyone I know finds the sight gross. And I concur with the groupthink on that one.

  • lolwut (Score:5, Funny)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:29AM (#27805297) Journal

    There are ads on facebook?

    • by Gonoff (88518)

      If there is, it is very discreet. I have just had a look around and can't see any.

      Or do they mean stuff like link ins - like Amazon etc where you can order books etc?

  • Being spied upon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:35AM (#27805323) Homepage
    The fact that these guys actually exist make me glad i'm not on facebook. Ya know facebook pretends to care about privacy all that but how can they keep that up when they have 150 paid staff who'se job it is to snoop through your stuffs?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      Ya know facebook pretends to care about privacy all that but how can they keep that up

      That *could* be a problem after watching pr0n all day ... maybe they could click on some of those contextual ads for some V14GR4 ...

    • Um...so it's ok for random strangers to go snooping through your stuff but not if there are random strangers paid to do it?

      People who think things like facebook are even remotely private make me lol.

      Oh and I have a facebook. I consider it public info. You could probably even find it by googling my handle on slashdot. But you're too lazy aren't you?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MikeBabcock (65886)

        Random strangers can't go snooping through your stuff. The whole point of Facebook is to make what used to be an open field day on private information (geocities then myspace, etc.) a more private and protected one.

        Facebook themselves brag about the privacy and personal protection measures. Nobody can tell if you rejected them (without effort) or what groups you've left, or if you posted photos privately for a specific friend or family member ...

        When users try to get around it, its a ToS violation, but th

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      Aren't those folks simply reacting to complaints from other users? After all, a lot of content in Facebook is not private. I guess it's easy to test. Post some porn but don't share it and see how long before it's taken down.

    • by British (51765)

      Facebook to me has never been anything close to "private". Generally the MO is to use your real name & put in your address/phone number/other details a website honestly doesn't need about you,etc. Linkedin makes sense to use your real name for professional contacts(ie jobs, etc), but still I don't see why facebook needs such private data. That site seemed like an identity thief's dream come true.

    • by MoogMan (442253)

      People posting information on a public website cannot expect their data to be kept private.

    • Your stuffs? You uploaded it freely to their servers and under their terms of service. It's not yours. If you wanted it to be yours, you shouldn't have given it to other people.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:53AM (#27805397)

    Wait till they find pictures of their mothers on my page!

  • Internal Corruption (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pilsner.urquell (734632) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @10:32AM (#27805963)
    I used to have a neighbor who was a homicide detective on the Los Angeles Police Department, when I lived in that fine city.

    He got transferred to the Vice Unit which seen like a demotion for a homicide detective. His explanation was that no police officer spent more that eighteen months in the Vice Unit because it tended to corrupt the offices and turn them into the criminals they where fighting.

    If this holds true, and I have mo reason to doubt my former neighbor, will this be a temporary assignment? Or will we start seeing these employees start posting there own girl meet donkey videos?

    --

    The American Form of Government [youtube.com]

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:00AM (#27806229) Journal

    I had the job ages ago of invesitgating complaints about a large dutch ISP's servers and user accounts content. If you send a mail that on our network there was inappropriate content, then I investigated and took appropriate action.

    Do not think this inappropriate content is restricted to some David Hamilton pics ("this content is legal with in the jurisdiction of the account it is hosted from")or even the early ancestors of "two girls and a cup" ("No laws are broken").

    Times might have changed a bit. The internet is a bit less of a wild west zone and facebook might not attract the very worsed of content as it is by its nature linked to your indentity but then, so was your IP to your account in my time.

    I quit after a few months despite a fairly high salary because there is only so much child porn, dead bodies or both you can look at.

  • I bet after being required to look at porn all day every day they feel mentally scarred and get really turned off of sex in their own lives.

  • by shark72 (702619) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:41AM (#27806551)

    It's revealing that the porn patroller featured in the article -- a fellow whose job is to view photos all day and press "yes" or "no" buttons -- is a Stanford graduate.

    This illustrates how many people apply to work at Facebook, and how hard it must be to get a job there. This guy got his degree from Stanford and took a job that could easily be outsourced to Mechanical Turk -- just to work at Facebook.

    For what it's worth, the $50K salary quoted might sound like a lot to those of you in the flyover states but it's pretty dismal by Bay Area standards. My first job out of college in the Bay Area, by comparison, paid $30K -- and that was 20 years ago.

    I hope the guy is buried in options.

  • There's a pretty funny film with an exaggerated version of this sort of thing as a backstory: The Adjuster [imdb.com].

  • I had to get a waiver from Legal so that I could download porn without repercussions. A part of the system I was building at the time had a non-recursive web crawler in it, and it did not discriminate what it was downloading. If the input contained kiddie porn, it would download that as well. Thankfully, my work did not require me to view any of that stuff.

    A good friend of mine works on spam detection in Live Search. Studying porn, malware, etc. sites is a job requirement for him, and nothing is exempt.

  • by jhylkema (545853)

    . . . the $50,000-a-year 'porn cops' also keep Facebook safe for corporate advertisers.

    They wouldn't give a ripshit otherwise. It's sorta like how eBay doesn't give a ripshit about scammers, but woe betide you if you have the temerity to try and resell an authentic Burberry scarf or somesuch.

  • Where do I apply ?

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