Rochelle LaPlante works on contract as a content moderator. She’s seen basically every kind of image you can imagine. All the boring, normal stuff – cat videos, vacation snapshots, headshots for dating sites. Weird stuff, like hundreds and hundreds of feet. And the occasional nightmare-inducing photo of horrific violence, child abuse, graphic porn.
It takes a toll. Some things, you can’t unsee.
Sometimes Rochelle knows who she’s working for, often not. For about four cents a click, she marks whether the images, text or videos meet the guidelines she’s given. Meet the invisible workforce of content moderation.
This week, all the pictures that never make it to your screen. With Professor Sarah T. Roberts, who studies digital pieceworkers, and Rochelle LaPlante, who you should really thank for protecting your eyeballs.