Social media content moderators in Germany launch manifesto for change to the Bundestag!

Social media content moderators from across Germany, working for Facebook and TikTok, have today launched a manifesto to the German parliament, the Bundestag, calling for an end to exploitation in moderation work.

The manifesto was produced in consultation with content moderators at the Content Moderators Summit in Berlin on March 9-10, 2023. It has been signed by more than 300 moderators working in Germany.

The summit was organized by Foxglove and our superb partners Superrr Lab, Aspiration and the German labor union ver.di.

We reproduce the text of the manifesto below with the kind permission of the moderators. Some moderators have chosen to sign the manifesto publicly – their names are listed at the bottom. A further 231 moderators chose to sign anonymously.

Social Media Content Moderators in Germany: Our Manifesto

We, content moderators of Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Majorel, Telus, Sama and Accenture, work to keep communities safe. Without us, social media companies would collapse overnight. Despite this, these companies exploit, bully and abuse us. We will remain silent no longer. Today we demand immediate, industry-wide change. Social media can never be safe until our own workplaces are safe and fair. 

1. Content moderation work is highly skilled. Our work requires cultural and language expertise, and social media could not exist without us. Our pay and benefit packages must reflect this

2. Despite day-to-day exposure to toxic content, we earn no hazard pay. Companies must also provide a hazard bonus of at least 35% of moderators’ annual salary. Clear policies must be consistently implemented, providing us with meaningful leave, holiday, breaks, overtime, and opportunities for promotion. 

2. Proper mental health care must be provided to all content moderators. Content moderation poses serious risks to our mental health including depression, anxiety, insomnia and PSTD. Each company must obtain independent, expert advice on effective safeguards and implement recommendations without delay. In the meantime, access to an independent, mental health clinician must be provided to each of us, on a 24-hour basis.

3. The culture of secrecy and bullying must end. We are made to sign non-disclosure agreements designed to scare us into silence. No NDA can legitimately stop us raising concerns about the conditions of our work. We must be allowed to speak about the conditions of their work, to ease the pressure we face, and to allow for organising. These NDAs must be dissolved with immediate effect.

4. Social media companies must encourage content moderators to collectively organise, bargain and join a union of their choice as well as form work councils across the industry.

5. All outsourcing of content moderation must stop. The critical safety work of content moderation must be brought in-house by each social media company. As companies transition, there must be no differential treatment in pay or benefits between those of us who are employed directly and those working via third party companies.

6. All oppressive and unreasonable surveillance and algorithmic management must be scrapped, so we can moderate content effectively.

7. Social media companies must ensure equal work is equally compensated. Social media companies must guarantee workers are treated the same irrespective of background or country of residence. We are content moderators in Germany, but we stand with our colleagues around the world who do the same work for a fraction of the American or European wage and under far harsher conditions. This digital colonialism must end, with all disparity in pay, benefits and conditions removed, and our standards made uniform across the world.

  • Nail Berkin Ayaydin
  • Stamatios Ntounis
  • Daniel Sütö
  • Fülöp Henrik Wirth
  • Otari Aptsiauri
  • Zoran Kovac
  • Naseeb Mohmand
  • Saskia Ravichandran
  • Zelal YüceboY
  • Brian Ares Glout
  • Micah Mongo
  • Mahmoud Eliwa
  • Kutaiba Zarzour
  • Mohamad Sayed
  • Siavash Qodratipour
  • Omar abdelsalam
  • Wessam Hamzeh Rafa
  • Tareq Alnaddaf
  • Suha Ameen
  • Rawaa Stas
  • Mohammad Yaqoub
  • Sayed Mustafa KamaI
  • Rasha Mohammad
  • Ayham Fakhouri
  • Farouk Alasas
  • Omar
  • Sabri Mustafa
  • Tamim aljoulany
  • Amy Jona
  • Hatice Bulat
  • Muhammet Tarik Kuloglu
  • Dzhengis Osman
  • Caglar Ay
  • Seda Ghasemi
  • Ghiath Khorched
  • Mohamed Daboul
  • Moaaz Kattan
  • Jaqueline Domenique Kiehl
  • Nedal Alsafadi
  • Ahmad Sanjar Babashli
  • Muhamed Gashi
  • Bjeshke Lahu Gashi
  • Shaho
  • Alaa Kassab
  • Alaa-Aldin Akash
  • Tarik Al Masri
  • Omar Moent
  • Fadi Mtamir
  • Reem Elattar
  • Ghazi Shaaban
  • Alaa Diri
  • Klaudia Derofi
  • Mhd Wasim Kalthoum
  • Alaa Abdulrahman
  • Shimaa Abdelshafy
  • Csanád Szabó
  • Zaid Salah Mahdi Mahdi
  • Bettina Pushkash
  • Lynn Ling
  • Mahir Kaplan
  • Sean Krusch
  • Alex Azimi
  • Cem M.
  • Firas Sidawi
  • Gunisigi Zan Diemer
  • Sina Zekavat
  • Sari Fayad
  • Gergely Kroo
  • Gabor Radnai
  • Andreas Hänisch