Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Media Social Networks

The Hell Known As Internet Screening Services 557

Posted by Soulskill
from the men-who-stare-at-goatse dept.
circletimessquare writes "Do you think your job is bad? Some websites outsource their moderation to firms where every work day, all work day, workers do nothing but sift through depravity after depravity. '"You have 20-year-old kids who get hired to do content review, and who get excited because they think they are going to see adult porn," said Hemanshu Nigam, the former chief security officer at MySpace. "They have no idea that some of the despicable and illegal images they will see can haunt them for the rest of their lives."' Some places only do year-long contracts, and have counseling services and staff psychologists, because of the psychological issues caused by this kind of work. One psychologist 'reached some unsettling conclusions in her interviews with content moderators. She said they were likely to become depressed or angry, have trouble forming relationships and suffer from decreased sexual appetites. Small percentages said they had reacted to unpleasant images by vomiting or crying. "The images interfere with their thinking processes. It messes up the way you react to your partner," Ms. Laperal said. "If you work with garbage, you will get dirty."'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Hell Known As Internet Screening Services

Comments Filter:
  • solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:20PM (#32954596)

    hire via 4chan?

    • Re:solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:21PM (#32954608) Homepage Journal

      That's no good, they won't filter anything.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Oh, they'll filter alright. Just the other way around.
        • Re:solution: (Score:5, Interesting)

          by robnsara (135532) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:54PM (#32955222)

          Oh, they'll filter alright. Just the other way around.

          Actually, a better solution: Just upload EVERYTHING to /b/. If it gets reposted by anonymous, automatically add it to a filter list. That way you don't have to pay people to do the work. This reverse-filter idea is a good one!

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by horza (87255)

            How about:
            wget <posted-page> | wc "bump" | echo "Page: <posted-page>\tDepravity level: $1\n" > filter.txt

            Phillip.

    • by kill-1 (36256)

      Hire surgeons?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stonewallred (1465497)
      Seems like the best place IMNSHO. Of course they would have to work nude and searched before leaving each day, because if not, you could count on the best 10% of CP, gore and other fucked up shit would immediately hit /b/ within 30 minutes of them leaving work. I'd do the job, especially if I could work from home. Easy work, easy money, and the money would feed my alcoholism and drug addiction. And give me an excuse for why I drink and drug.
    • Re:solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:51PM (#32955166)

      The grain of truth is that there are plenty of people who can watch anything and laugh about it, while functioning just fine and having no emotional problems from doing so.

      Overly sensitive people shouldn't mess with shit that will damage them.

      Not everyone is sensitive, and not everyone has to "suppress" themselves to cope with seeing Bad Things.

      • Re:solution: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:58PM (#32955308)

        The grain of truth is that there are plenty of people who can watch anything and laugh about it, while functioning just fine and having no emotional problems from doing so.

        Yes, they are called sociopaths, but they already have far deeper issues to deal with.

        • Re:solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

          by couchslug (175151) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:13PM (#32955518)

          "Yes, they are called sociopaths, but they already have far deeper issues to deal with."

          Being able to cope comfortably is only a pathology to those who fetishize sweet, delectable sensitivity. One can understand and see things which are unusual and outside social taboos without giving a shit. It's called perspective, as opposed to morbid emotional wallowing.

          In most cases, IMO, the term "sociopath" is used in society the way "troll" moderations are commonly used in Slashdot, which is to express Bitchy Disagreement.

          "I disagree with you, you a sociopathic troll!" brings to mind the Soviet practice of sending those who didn't agree with commie politics to asylums, because such wrong thought MUST be pathological.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Hylandr (813770)
            /signed.

            People in general need to grow the f* up and be adults.

            *Deal* with it!
            - Dan.
          • Re:solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

            by openfrog (897716) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:46PM (#32956880)

            Being able to cope comfortably is only a pathology to those who fetishize sweet, delectable sensitivity. One can understand and see things which are unusual and outside social taboos without giving a shit. It's called perspective, as opposed to morbid emotional wallowing.

            You yourself assume a superior, balanced attitude, while in fact you don't use argument but personal attack to defeat the opposite perspective. You come out as pretty aggressive in fact. And your 'big guy' pretension that you would not be affected by this shit is not backed by any actual knowledge or argument: you are just making it up... "all sissies..." I see you thinking and boasting.

            Do a bit of anthropology. We have evolved into a highly cooperative species through a very, very long process and our emotions, feelings of compassion, sense of ethics, etc. do define our individual characters and our common human culture. The grandparent does have a valid point when he suggest that someone unaffected could qualify as a sociopath. Your rationalizations don't even begin to convince me to the contrary.

        • Re:solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

          by severoon (536737) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:26PM (#32956624) Journal

          Sociopaths lack the empathic response. People that respond negatively to disturbing videos are responding emotionally, though not necessarily empathically.

          There is obviously overlap, but that overlap can be trained away in many people. It is quite common, for instance, for surgeons to initially respond to use of a cautery gun by getting ill or faint (mostly because of the normally out-of-context smell of cooked meat that one knows is produced from a live human...the association is unsettling). But talk to any surgeon that's been doing the job for a long time, and that smell simply makes them hungry.

          Why shouldn't it make them hungry? Cooked meat, human or otherwise, is supposed to trigger that response. The hunger response is the mechanical reaction of a working human brain. Feelings of guilt at being hungry are, in the operating room, entirely misplaced; why should a surgeon feel guilty because of an automatic response when, in the offing, they are helping the patient? Much in the same way, these workers are ostensibly helping customers by protecting them from content they presumably don't want to see (though that is debatable).

          I know a doctor that once told me she gets great satisfaction from draining cysts. Despite the absolutely foul smell and gross result, she said it is absolutely one of the most satisfying activities she does as a doctor because it is a nearly risk-free procedure to a patient and the payoff is profound in that the patient immediately feels better. In that scenario, where you might think she's sick because she enjoys dealing with gross stuff, she sees herself as someone willing to endure something gross in particular because it does have such a great and positive effect; emotionally speaking, when viewed in the proper context (and it is the indisputably correct view), it is perhaps one of the most emotionally satisfying demonstrations of empathy I can think of.

          So it's mediation and mitigation of the guilt response that allows people like her to continue helping people, and if anything it makes them the opposite of a sociopath...likewise with any gruesome job—if one works in a slaughterhouse, a mortuary or morgue, crime scene cleanup, etc. So I tend to think that only people that are internally emotionally secure could do such a job. If your response is that it would take a sociopath, that is probably based primarily on fear about what you might discover about your own emotional stability in the same situation.

      • by eln (21727) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:10PM (#32955472) Homepage
        The problem is that most 20 year old kids don't really know how sensitive they are to things like this until they're repeatedly exposed to them, by which point much of the damage has already been done. Luckily for me, I was exposed to the Internet and all of the nastiness on it when I was only 13, and I've managed to get by with no ill effects at all except for the occasional extended blackout followed by a dead hooker in my bed. Some more sensitive people might really lose their minds, though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You haven't really lost your mind until the dead hookers start waking up on you...

      • Re:solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bit9 (1702770) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:22PM (#32955654)

        I used to think I was one of those people, until I saw a full length, uncut video of some terrorists beheading a captured American.

        I would advise anybody who thinks they're not one of those "overly sensitive" people to give it some serious thought before they decide to watch something like that, much less get a job doing it all day long. Some things you just cannot un-see - although you'll certainly wish you could.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by c6gunner (950153)

          You see worse things on TV all the time. It's only different because you've convinced yourself that one is real and the other one fake. If someone had taken that footage and spliced it into a Hollywood film, you would have taken it completely in stride. And the IMDB page would have at least one comment saying "I only gave it 6 starts because the execution scene wasn't realistic enough".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bit9 (1702770)

            If someone had taken that footage and spliced it into a Hollywood film, you would have taken it completely in stride.

            You're an idiot. There was no mistaking this as real. This was several minutes of pure terror, unlike any movie you've ever seen. If you really believe that bullshit, then you've obviously never seen the video I'm referring to.

        • Re:solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:20PM (#32956564)
          You mean the Daniel Pearl video? That's why I have chosen to never watch it along with the fact that the people who created it want me to, and I do so love to disappoint them in any small way I can.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      One idea, (probably a terrible one but maybe worth mentioning here) is have confessed child molesters do it.

      I am not any type of psychologist, nor do I know much about the criminal system, but maybe experiencing that flood of sewage will give them negative associations with those images that they lack naturally. Maybe seeing some CP that would appeal to them among tons of images that would be repugnant to anyone, which sounds like what these screening services have to deal with, would make the whole mess l

  • Just get rotten.com to run a banner ad for these positions. Anyone who has ever been to that site is inured to anything anyone could post to MySpace.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:31PM (#32954802)

      Oh, come on. Rotten isn't actually bad.

      Rotten displays very candid pictures that you won't see in the mainstream media; things like terrible gunshot wounds, accidents, strange medical cases and so on. They're candid, and they're shocking, but they're not disturbing, at least once you've seen a couple and have gotten used to seeing things you don't usually see in our society.

      Disturbing is something else. Have you ever seen a video of a puppy getting tortured and killed slowly, for instance? Even if you can't actually see much, it's horrifying. In fact, it's horrifying precisely WHEN you can't see anything, because between the frenzied howls of pain and anguish, your mind fills in the blanks of what must be happening, and you're powerless - absolutely powerless! - to stop the whole thing. You don't know who's doing it, you don't know where they are, you don't know anything. The only thing you know is that the moment you're watching it, the puppy already HAS died a horrible, painful, slow death, and even if they catch the guy who did it, the events in the video can't be undone or prevented anymore.

      THAT is disturbing.

      It's something that happens for police officers, too, BTW; those who're working on serial killer/rape/... cases will often need psychologica help after reviewing photographs and videos and so on.

      And these are trained professionals who're only doing it *sometimes*, as part of their job, and they're officers who've already seen a lot, who're older and have already got more life experience and so on.

      Can you imagine being a 20-year old who's doing NOTHING ELSE but review things like that, eight hours a day, five days a week, for an entire year or more?

      It's gonna mess you up something bad. And rotten? Rotten doesn't even begin to compare to it. Rotten is harmless.

  • 4chan (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:22PM (#32954620)

    So it's like getting paid to browse /b/?

  • /.ers (Score:4, Funny)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:22PM (#32954632)

    workers do nothing but sift through depravity after depravity

    I thought that was the definition of "browsing the Internet".

  • yup. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ak_hepcat (468765) <leif AT denali DOT net> on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:23PM (#32954638) Homepage Journal

    I've done this as an Information Security person. Get a report, validate, pass it on to the cops and FBI.

    Not fun at all.

    Glad it's 10 years behind me.

  • Hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:23PM (#32954662)

    ...is other people.

  • Goatse Posters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Caball (58351) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:24PM (#32954668)
    Hope all you bastards are happy. First time I saw that image, I had nightmares for a month.
  • by nanoakron (234907) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:26PM (#32954694)

    4chan'll do that to you...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:27PM (#32954738) Journal
    As the great Jello Biafra once said: "Want to see child porn? Join the vice squad."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:31PM (#32954810)

    I notice with interest the posters of "can it really be that bad?" type of comments.

    It can.

    I spent some years handling abuse@ for a national-sized ISP that allowed "homepages" via dialin. Let's just say that I had severe temper-issues for a long while after that.

  • by BigDXLT (1218924) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:32PM (#32954820)
    I'd like to see Mike spend a day cleaning up the interwebs!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      "It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it. Whoa-oh-oh-OH-oh."

      [[ cut to Mike in front of a web browser, screen not visible ]]

      [click]
      "Oh, God!"
      [click]
      "Oh, God!"
      [click]
      "Oh, God!"
      [click]
      "Oh, God!"
      [click]
      "Oh, God!"
      [[ commercial break ]]
      [[repeat]

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:56PM (#32955268) Homepage

      Heh. Because watching Mike sitting in front of a monitor all day, with his brand of narration/commentary, on a bunch of stuff that Discovery can't show or even possibly talk about given the subject matter and their audience would be great to watch.

      That wouldn't make for very good TV.

      I'm sure it's a dirty job (I certainly wouldn't want to do it), but I'd imagine there are quite a few dirty jobs that Discovery just wouldn't be willing to air. Heck, they've aired some stuff (like the episode where he castrates goats) that I couldn't believe they aired.

  • Cause and effect? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MSBob (307239) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:51PM (#32955158)
    What if we turn this around and consider that maybe those who apply for jobs to screen the internet already have an unhealthy fascination with weird and/or illegal content? Maybe the post-contract counseling only reveals all the issues they harbored prior to starting the work?

    I'm not saying this is the case, but it's a possibility...
  • by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:51PM (#32955160)
    I used to be a content moderator for ehow.com, a demand media subsidiary. Luckily all I had to do was sort out the bad user articles that weren't up to their quality standard. I came across some oddly disturbing stuff but at least it was only text. I definitely now have it embedded in my mind though that 99% of people can't write an article properly to save their own life and most Americans are degenerate mutant freaks who need to go back to school to learn basic grammar and spelling skills but other than that, I came out of it perfectly sane lol.
  • by arkham6 (24514) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:53PM (#32955210)
    Maybe a nice soothing viewing of the human centipede?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_centipede

    (warning, even reading the description will make you reach for the brain bleach)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StikyPad (445176)

      warning, even reading the description will make you reach for the brain bleach

      Meh.. I'm a huge pussy when it comes to seeing *actual* injury, especially intentional, but fictional scenarios don't bother me much at all -- especially a highly implausible and unworkable scenario such as this. I haven't watched the film, but you'd have to prevent suffocation, dehydration, malnutrition, and infection. Not to mention that popping stitches is hard enough to prevent accidentally, let alone intentionally. It's ri

  • Incongruity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macemoneta (154740) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:54PM (#32955224) Homepage

    The problem for many people is the incongruity between how they were raised and reality. People are generally raised to believe that people are good, that there are norms of behavior, there is justice in the world, authority figures can be trusted, things happen for reason and are overseen by an omnipotent deity. As we grow up, we learn that these are simply convenient lies that define our society.

    When presented with conflicting visual evidence, we can be shocked and damaged - our world view is broken. Some go into denial (classifying the content as depravity), and some go into depression (recognizing that society is simply a veneer). Education and experience over time tends to break these falsehoods more gently, incrementally. The Internet is not so gentle.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Insightful as hell. If I had mod points I'd toss you one.

      It does make you wonder what other kinds of jobs are disillusioning -- certainly I'd put government jobs that are actually public-facing in that bin, if in a slightly different way. I recently did some contract work for a city government and the people I worked with there had an unreal collection of stories in which they were shot at, otherwise attacked, or inappropriately urinated on or near by people. As someone who still believed that, if not ex

    • Re:Incongruity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by c0d3g33k (102699) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:04PM (#32956328)

      The problem for many people is the incongruity between how they were raised and reality.

      People are generally raised to believe that people are good, that there are norms of behavior

      Most people are good, most of the time. I wasn't raised that way, I've observed this to be the case.

      there is justice in the world

      There is, most of the time. The existence of exceptions doesn't negate the rule, and certainly doesn't justify giving up.

      authority figures can be trusted

      This is a tough one. Many authority figures can be trusted, but not unconditionally. Any authority figure should be open to question and monitored closely. The problem isn't that someone with authority can't be trusted most of the time, it's what happens when they stray and the trust is misplaced. Even if rare, the ramifications are great.

      things happen for reason

      Generally true. You may not like the reason, but cause and effect seems to affect most things that happen, in my experience.

      [Things] are overseen by an omnipotent deity

      Nope. I have no evidence of that. I'll grant you this point.

      As we grow up, we learn that these are simply convenient lies that define our society.

      They aren't convenient lies. Believing in good, justice, trust and reason are things to be aspired to, because if you don't, you have given in to evil, injustice, distrust and unreason. The existence of the latter does not necessarily make the former "lies".

    • only shows that you are out of touch with reality, and that you have some serious problems

      "People are generally raised to believe that people are good, that there are norms of behavior, there is justice in the world, authority figures can be trusted, things happen for reason and are overseen by an omnipotent deity. As we grow up, we learn that these are simply convenient lies that define our society."

      reality is that most people really are good, there really are norms of behavior, and there is a genuine concerted effort to promote justice in the world (the trustworthy authority and the god part: yeah, you're right, those are lies)

      point is, there are some really screwed up people in this world: for example, that chinese chick who put a kitten under her high heels and maciated it to death on camera. it is the genuine truth that most people would never do this. i'm not asking for your comment about how under force, most people would do this: of course, under force, anyone would do this, but this woman chose do it of her own volition. she's screwed up, she's outside the norm, she's rare and demented

      so the really fucked up things you see on the internet is not some sort of baseline of the genuine reality as you suggest, and is not the truth of human behavior. it is the work of some really, really fucked up depraved people

      most people are good and decent, really

    • Re:Incongruity (Score:4, Insightful)

      by openfrog (897716) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:14PM (#32957256)

      The problem for many people is the incongruity between how they were raised and reality. People are generally raised to believe that people are good, that there are norms of behavior, there is justice in the world, authority figures can be trusted, things happen for reason and are overseen by an omnipotent deity. As we grow up, we learn that these are simply convenient lies that define our society.

      When presented with conflicting visual evidence, we can be shocked and damaged - our world view is broken. Some go into denial (classifying the content as depravity), and some go into depression (recognizing that society is simply a veneer). Education and experience over time tends to break these falsehoods more gently, incrementally. The Internet is not so gentle.

      Rubbish.

      If society is only a veneer, how do you explain that it works at all? I mean, why can you go out in the street and feel secure? We evolved those social behaviors over a very long time. We react with strong emotions to those things because we have slowly built a cooperative culture through those choices, however arbitrary they may seem, and we have integrated them into our limbic system. Our distant ancestors could have chosen otherwise: they could have decided that it would be more reproductively advantageous to assume a bullying, no mercy attitude. Well, some might have done so, but they have failed to reproduce, or at least to dominate. Those who advocate insensitive attitudes through an ideology (I think of fascism here) have not made it through history either.

      I find it funny that the most naked cynicism is always accompanied by aggressive injunctions to "get real". I would answer to that: get a clue.

  • Dumbasses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:55PM (#32955248) Homepage

    These are probably the same guys who, in high school, thought it would kick ass to be a Gynecologist. It never seemed to enter their heads that if a woman is paying them to check out her vagina, chances are... it's because of something a typical man would never want to see...

  • by peterofoz (1038508) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:57PM (#32955300) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like a candidate for Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs TV show, except they can't show the images on TV, but his reactions and commentary would be great.
  • Hmmm..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetNed (955141) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:01PM (#32955352)
    "She said they were likely to become depressed or angry, have trouble forming relationships and suffer from decreased sexual appetites."

    So it has similar effects as playing world of warcraft?
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:05PM (#32955396) Homepage Journal
    More than 80% of this work can be knocked out with a digital fingerprinting tool like tineye.com uses. Spiders can check every image referenced from any myspace.com html against a fingerprint match with a blacklist of images.

    TFA mentions google doing something like this with YouTube videos, but it sounds like the majority of sites are crowdsourcing their visitors to flag content that gets reviewed by these folks. A digital fingerprinting tool can eliminate tedious review by both visitors and the moderators.

    Seth
  • Use older techies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ATestR (1060586) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:06PM (#32955402) Homepage

    There are enough of us around who're looking for a meaningful job. The dark side of the Internet may disgust us, but in general, the older members of society are jaded to some of the depravities of life, and less likely to be bothered. Not that I'd take that job right now... but there was a time a few years back...

  • by kriston (7886) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:23PM (#32955662) Homepage Journal

    One of my colleagues' former jobs was to index the photograph archives of an international police organization. He spoke about some unspeakable crime scene photos that he took years to get over. The mere descriptions of the photos also took *us* years to get over.

    This kind of thing is not good for anyone.

  • Meh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bemopolis (698691) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:25PM (#32955694)
    Pics or it didn't happe — OH JESUS MY EYES!
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:26PM (#32955720) Homepage

    The company's roughly 50 workers view a combined average of 20 million photos a week.

    That's 10,000 images per hour per person, assuming a 40-hour week. (For $8-12 per hour). How can they do that? Even if the numbers are exaggerated, just looking at that many images has to be wearing.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

Working...