What happens to your data when you die?

Okay, now this is interesting. Facebook may eventually have more dead users than living ones. According to a study by Oxford Researchers, Facebook will have 4.9 billion deceased users on its system by the year 2100. If Facebook’s current growth rate continues, the dead would outpace the living by 2070. And this brings to mind, an interesting question… What happens to your data after you die? I’ll share a few insights in this episode. | Click here to download the transcript (and links to all the resources cited in the podcast.) And please, take 30 seconds to fill out my podcast listener survey at http://jimstroud.com/survey | Thank you in advance.

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About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy.  He recently  served ClickIQ as its VP, Product Evangelist.

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 Blue Dot Session – “Li Fonte”

The Absolutely Horrible, Disgusting and Inexcusable Working Conditions at Facebook

I was a guest on Chad and Cheese’s “The Shred” Podcast today. Listen to it now, read the transcript below or, do both. Yes, both would be good. 😉

Facebook moderators are the cops of the social network. They patrol its cyberspace for things like hate speech, murders in livestream, child pornography and anything else that can be generated by the worst examples of its global society. One such Facebook moderator was Keith Utley. He worked the overnight shift at a Facebook content moderation site in Tampa, FL, operated by a professional services vendor named Cognizant. He did not serve in this capacity alone; 800 or so contract co-workers helped him sift through internet depravity and they had the notable distinction of being among the worst performing of the FB moderation sites – according to “The Verge.”

To work as a Facebook moderator, you are required to sign a 14-page nondisclosure agreement. Keith Utley and others broke that agreement because the working conditions demanded it. Here are just a few of their complaints and apologies in advance, if you have a weak stomach.

  • A Facebook content moderator had a heart attack at his desk and died last year. Senior management initially discouraged employees from discussing the incident, for fear it would hurt productivity.
  • Facilities at the Tampa site are often filthy, with workers reporting that the office’s only bathroom has repeatedly been found smeared with feces and menstrual blood.
  • Workers have also found pubic hair and fingernails at their desks, along with other bodily waste.
  • Verbal and physical fights at the office are common. So are reports of theft.

The complaints go downhill, from there.

So, what do the workers get for the trouble of deplorable working conditions? A whopping $28,800 dollar a year salary, two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break. They also get 9 minutes of wellness time because if you are monitoring graphic violence and child exploitation for a living, most likely you will soon be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or something related to it. In fact, “The Verge” reported on the secret lives of Facebook moderators before and cited how commonplace it was to be “haunted by visions of the images and videos they saw during their time on the job.”

So, what has been Facebook’s response? Here is a direct quote from Casey Newton, reporter for The Verge and the source for all the information I’ve been sharing. Quote…

In May, Facebook announced that it will raise contractor wages by $3 an hour, make on-site counselors available during all hours of operation, and develop further programs for its contractor workforce. But the pay raises are not due to take effect until the middle of 2020, by which time many, if not most, of the current Tampa workforce will no longer work there. Turnover statistics could not be obtained. But few moderators I have spoken with make it to two years on the job — they either are fired for low accuracy scores, or quit over the working conditions. And so while the raises will be a boon to a future workforce, the contractors I spoke to are unlikely to benefit.

The moral of the story here, I think is this, do not become a Facebook moderator. At least, not today.

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Returnships: Don’t Call It a Comeback! They’ve been here for years.

I keep buying them beer so, Chad and Cheese keeps letting me appear on their blog. May the tap never run dry. 😉

Here’s a bit of news from the political blog – Roll Call.

“A pair of Democratic senators introduced legislation Thursday that would offer subsidies to employers who hire longtime unemployed workers. The draft bill, sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and backed by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, aims to assist an estimated 1.3 million people who have been out of work for at least six months. The government would offer one-year subsidies to cover two-thirds of the cost of a new hire’s wages and benefits, although the subsidy could be increased in times of high unemployment.”

I think this is a well-intentioned effort to get people who have been out of the labor force for a while, back in the game. However, its not a new idea. There already is a trend of companies reaching back to experienced workers, its called – Returnships. Returnships are like internships for experienced workers looking to re-enter the workforce. Jason Wingard on Forbes explains how they work:

 “Modeled after traditional student internships, organizations hire individuals for a few months to a year during which they pair employment with mentoring and training. The benefits are twofold: returners gain skills, confidence, and connections, and employers evaluate prospective candidates risk-free. Returnships can provide an excellent segue back into the working world.”

Here are three examples of companies with returnship programs.

  • Example 1 – “The Goldman Sachs Returnship program helps to develop talented professionals who are looking to restart their careers after an extended absence from the workforce. This paid program offers opportunities in a variety of divisions and the chance to experience the vast network of resources at Goldman Sachs.”
  • Example 2 – “Increasing numbers of physicians are confronted with the problem of obtaining hospital staff privileges after extended absences from the practice of clinical medicine. The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Physician Reentry Program provides hospital credentialing committees with a convenient pathway to help reinstate physicians who have been denied privileges. The Reentry Program designs a course of participatory study that is intended to fulfill the specific needs of the reentering physician’s planned practice.”
  • Example 3 – “The Real Returns program at Credit Suisse is paid and runs for approximately 12 weeks. You’ll have the opportunity to work on projects that match your skills and expertise, and tap into a support network of like-minded professionals. You will participate in a variety of orientation events and training sessions throughout the program that are designed to help you transition back into the work environment. You will also receive information about changes in the financial services industry, improve your technology skills and participate in workshops.”

With a national unemployment rate of 3.6%, expect companies to do more creative strategies like this in the ongoing war for talent.

Podcast Listener Update

Jim Stroud here with a listener update and a few requests, the least of which is to ask that you take 30 seconds to fill out my podcast listener survey at http://jimstroud.com/survey Thank you in advance.

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I was a guest on Chad and Cheese’s “The Shred” Podcast today. Listen to it now, read the transcript below or, do both. Yes, both would be good. 😉

Housebill 2557 is now an ACT. Housebill 2557 was passed May 29th by the Illinois House of Representatives and it sailed through the Illinois Senate without anyone voting – no. That kind of unanimous political bipartisanship almost never happens, especially in these days and times. So, why is it happening now? What is the act that once was Housebill 2557? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Housebill 2557 is now known as the “Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act.”

The Act prohibits Illinois employers from using “artificial intelligence” to evaluate a job applicant’s video interview unless the employer does three things first:

  • 1 – employer notifies the applicant that they will be using AI in the video interview process,
  • 2 – employer explains to the applicant “how the artificial intelligence works”
  • 3 – employer obtains consent from the applicant to use artificial intelligence in the video interview; before the interview begins

The Act also also requires employers to delete the video interviews within 30 days of request by the applicant.


Now, I imagine companies like Hirevue are quite concerned about this little development as it seems that this bit of legislation is targeting them specifically, and maybe other video interviewing platforms in the space like Montage, Gecko, Panna and Autoview

Does this legislation spell doom to them all, at least in Illinois? Umm… I doubt it. I imagine lawyers having a field day with this one based on what I read in JDSupra. For those who don’t know, JDSupra is a website that does legal analysis and it had a field day tearing this ACT apart. Here are three quotes that caught most of my attention:

  1. “[Artificial Intelligence]” is not defined in the Act. Here, Illinois assumes that the term is self-evident, which is not necessarily true. For instance, would assigning scores to an applicant based on tone of voice, facial expressions and word choice via algorithmic means count? (seems like “yes”) What about using an algorithm to automatically create a transcript of the interview? (seems like “maybe”) What about use of an algorithm to smooth and/or edit the video to key moments? (seems like “possibly”)
  2. The Act vaguely requires the employer to describe “how the artificial intelligence works” as well as “what general types of characteristics” the AI uses to evaluate applicants. We would expect describing the “how” would be challenging to do with any degree of specificity, particularly since the details of the algorithm are likely not fully-known to the employer…
  3. The law requires all copies of videos (expressly “including all … backups”) to be deleted within 30 days of the request. While sounding simple in concept, the vendors and customers in this space may have difficulty actually implementing this, particularly if third party cloud providers or similar are used, which may not allow complete deletion of all backups…

That’s the end of all my JDSupra quotes. Hmm… What to do, what to do?

Maybe the hrtech industry should pool their resources and hire lobbyists to explain the benefits of AI and other emerging technologies in the recruitment process; because judging by this Act, which may or may not be ready for prime time, politicians are swift to react to the fear inherent in the rapid pace of technological change. Or rather, the fears of their voting constituents.


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