Facebook orders some contract workers to go back to the office next week


Every time I read anything about Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook, I’m reminded how happy (and yes, smug) I am about giving up my Facebook account a few years back. In the middle of a crucial election that Zuckerberg is most decidedly aiding an undeserving candidate and a global pandemic on which Facebook is allowing misinformation to be spread – remember his wife is a doctor, for crissakes – Facebook has decided to force people to return, in person, to offices against their will. The social networking site is telling workers contracted through Accenture as content moderators that they must return to the offices next week. They may face losing their jobs if they refuse. This is after Facebook told its full-time employees they would be working from home probably through July 2021. With no COVID precaution plan released or announced, the in-person team is terrified about what will happen.

Facebook is ordering some of its third-party content moderators back to its offices on Monday — and that’s caused them to panic.

The workers, contract employees at Accenture, a $145 billion professional services company, say the back-to-work order is indicative of a culture of silence and a two-tiered employment structure at the social network that exposes them to much greater risks than full-time employees.

Internally, workers have voiced concerns about returning to offices during a pandemic that has sickened 7.6 million people and killed more than 213,000 in the United States. And some Facebook content moderators employed by Accenture in Austin and Mountain View, California, who are expected to return to the office next week are concerned that they may lose their jobs if they do not.

Facebook has told its full-time employees that they should expect to work from home until July 2021. One full-time employee told BuzzFeed News that they’re not even allowed to go into their office to retrieve their personal belongings.

Accenture contractors working for Facebook on community operations and product data operations, however, have been told to show up in person on Monday, according to internal posts seen by BuzzFeed News, after having worked from home since March. Some of those contractors are concerned about their personal health, while others wonder why there have not been written communications from Accenture or Facebook about their return, which was first reported by the Verge.

“No written documentation, HR is hit-or-miss when it comes to addressing the numerous and varied concerns of the employees, and people are scared. Truly and understandably scared,” wrote one Accenture contractor on Thursday on an internal Facebook message board. “How can we possibly be ready to return to the office when this entire process has been so utterly and completely mishandled?”

“The blame here lies with Accenture,” they said. “The blame lies with Facebook.”

That post was made despite Accenture’s new policy telling contractors not to post “anything negative” to Workplace, Facebook’s internal platform for employees. Contractors were also told to keep personal conversations away from work areas because they could be “distracting” to coworkers, according to documents viewed by BuzzFeed News.

[From Buzzfeed News]

When Buzzfeed spoke to Accenture, their spokespeople reiterated that everything was being done to look after their employees safety and work would be done, “in consideration of local orders, and with rigorous health and safety measures in place.” Only no one can state what those measures happen to be. These people are being asked to show up next week and they haven’t been given a specific layout of what their COVID work environment will look like. It’s not fair, especially considering the full-time employees – the ones with health benefits and medical coverage, get to stay home. Normally I would give someone the benefit of the doubt but this is life or death so I cannot be that generous here. And it’s Facebook, they’ve proven time and again they’ve sold their soul – I wouldn’t trust them with last night’s leftovers, let alone my health. And I’m not just bashing on them, they failed to take the necessary precautions in Dublin and have jeopardized those they forced back to work there, resulting in a few people testing positive.

What’s so important? Facebook is claiming the sensitivity of the content to be moderated as to why it cannot be viewed from an individual’s home. I get the argument, but there is another solution that is better than this. I don’t know what it is, but VPNs come to mind. With their resources, surely Facebook can come up with something. But it is not making unprotected contract workers without benefits and salary work around other people. I agree with those who posted that this is the fault of both Facebook and Accenture. Facebook should not be making these demands of contract employees and Accenture should be standing up for their workers.


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26 Responses to “Facebook orders some contract workers to go back to the office next week”

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  1. WilliamJoelene says:

    FB owns Instagram and What’s App. And Accenture contractors work on Twitter too. There’s no escape.

  2. LaRonda says:

    If only he would use his billions for niceness instead of evil. 😞

  3. Merricat says:

    Zuck is an evil, greedy little azzhole. Glad I left FB last year.

    • Mumbles says:

      Don’t forget his enabler, girlboss hero Sheryl Sandberg. In many ways she’s worse because she has positioned herself as some feminist vanguard and she comes off smoother than Zuckerberg. I even suspect that as COO, she’s the one behind this.

  4. Snazzy says:

    Every time I see a pic of him I am convinced zombies are real. I would have said vampires by the pasty skin tone, but everyone knows vampires are hot, have a great sense of style and are full of ANGST. This dude has no angst.

  5. Darla says:

    Once Jamie Dimon decided to force Chase workers back into the office, he set the tone. All of NY finance followed, and now you are seeing this. Don’t forget about Dimon.

  6. Redder says:

    I mean, I’ve been back in the office. I blame the government, because I know these companies will never have me as their priority. The government should have mandated safety protocols. Or force companies to keep their workers at home if they can do their job there.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I’ve been back in the office since April. My company has an outdated mentality that being in the same building helps the work get done, but if one person gets COVID, it will decimate the company. I had to talk to them in early March to convince them to let us work from home even a bit. I think they thought I was over reacting at first, then state mandates went into effect. They eventually stretched wording of guidances to make us fit into an “essential business” that could ignore restrictions. I don’t think they understand that even if we have our separate offices, there’s too much traffic in bathrooms/elevators/kitchen/hallways. Air flow matters, and we have none.

  7. BlueSky says:

    My job sent us home in March. 2 months ago they told us this work from home would be permanent. I cleaned out my desk last week. I’m thankful every day that I can work from home. MZ is a miserable little troll that is more than willing to put lives in danger as long as his pockets stay full.

  8. SamC says:

    I’m guessing Jamie Dimon started the trend because Chase was losing a fortune in commercial property loans/rents they hold and knew that others would follow. Nothing to do with collaboration, employees eager to be back, blah blah. FB also has a ton of $$ in loans/leases they can’t break. Across the board, with unemployment so high and the economy in the tank,, employers know they hold the power (for now) and employees will put up with a lot to keep their jobs.

    • Maida says:

      Exactly this. Commercial real estate is set to tank as more and more companies realize that people can work from home and that they don’t need to pay as much in overhead. That’s what Dimon and Chase are afraid of.

      As for Zuckerberg, he’s a great example of “too much and never enough,” along with Trump. He’s got the money to bring all those contract employees (who are doing very trauma-inducing work) on full-time, but he won’t. And he could allow them to work from home with VPNs, but he won’t. It’s all about the $ and not at all about the people.

      It’s past time to delete Facebook if you haven’t already.

  9. Paperclip says:

    THANK YOU for posting this. FB is absolute ROT. I won’t go near it. MZ’s legacy is ruined. Not that he cares…massive bubble of money and safety.

  10. Case says:

    My dad has been back in the office since June for a job that can be done remotely. And they wanted him back as early as May. The owner is a Trump supporter and following his lead. Not everyone wears a mask. It’s a nightmare.

    I agree with the above poster that the government should mandate for companies to keep people home if their job can be done remotely. It’s safer AND will help lessen the spread of the virus.

  11. Merricat says:

    I hope every family who has lost a member to COVID sues Donald Trump for wrongful death.

  12. BnLurkN4eva says:

    I sincerely try to avoid speaking to someone’s appearance, but this guy gives me the creeps. He and Pence are the two humans who cause chill to run down my spine whenever I look at them. He just looks soulless and I can’t help feeling that way about him and while it might have been more polite to not mention it, I can’t help that either.

    • schmootc says:

      I couldn’t agree more. There’s just something about him that is chilling. I’m sure I wouldn’t feel that way if he had a history of being less evil though. How someone behaves usually does affect how people react to their appearance.

  13. Ahully1 says:

    Not sure what the contract says, but according to US HR law, contract employers do NOT have the right to tell contractors where, how or with what said contractors must do their work. Is Accenture claiming this is Fbk’s call when it’s not? Did they side a contract that allows this kind of order? Or …?

    • Sadezilla says:

      That’s a good point, Ahully1. Why is Accenture hiring contractors, anyway? They have the infrastructure to put them on the payroll as part-time workers. As Hecate said, it’s truly not fair, “especially considering the full-time employees – the ones with health benefits and medical coverage, get to stay home.” Facebook brings in contractors to do the most terrible, scarring, trauma-inducing job, on top of having little power and basically no benefits, and having to figure out how to pay their taxes on their own because they’re not withheld from their pay. I know I’m going on a rant here, but this is something that makes me so ragey. The US tax system is unnecessarily complicated, and hiring relatively low income people who probably don’t have the resources to handle their self-employed status as contractors to save money for the business is just gross. I suppose I get it for small businesses that don’t have the infrastructure to handle payroll, but Accenture and Facebook have absolutely zero excuse. It’s taking advantage of people who have no power in the situation due to the faltering economy and the prevalence of “gig” jobs.

    • schmootc says:

      I though California passed a new law that would stop this kind of bullshit. I seem to recall it was mostly targeted at Uber, but they all need to stop it. Time to bring back unions. Or something.

    • Ms. says:

      Accenture is the contractor, not the employees. The employees work for Accenture, not Facebook. Accenture pays their wages, health insurance, etc. Accenture provides business outsourcing service to Facebook and other entities.

      Facebook may be to blame for saying they want them back in offices, but it’s all on Accenture to not have a safe return plan for their employees, and for not pushing back.

  14. magdalena says:

    wtf. I’m not even in the US (meaning that in my European corner the situation is fairly stable) and I’m working from home since early March till the end of the year (what’s next in 2021, is yet undecided).
    It’s cruel and I’m not sure how it benefits the company. F.e. in my case, yes, they are paying for the office but they do not buy us coffee, fruits, toilet paper, etc 😀 So, I suspect that our HO cost them less.

  15. Linda says:

    Think a moment on what these workers are doing. There’s a good reason they need to be behind closed doors and not in a home where others including small kids could be exposed. Honestly I would be happy if Facebook just shut down but someone did an analysis and decided risk of a worker getting Covid was preferable (and more controllable) as compared to risk small kids or other vulnerable people at home would get PTSD from this crap. Tech firms do not want workers back in the office for no reason.

  16. Ashley says:

    I had to work at IKEA when I came to America because no one was hiring and I couldn’t not work. It was only for a few months but I didn’t get sick. HOWEVER every time an employee got sick they sent us some Bs letter about contact tracing. Which was a complete and total lie because my co worker who I worked side by side with for a full 6 hours got covid the next day. I was never told. I had to ask him when he came back. I tried to complain to Texas workforce and they were like we don’t handle that. !!! I was pissed. I felt fevery/muscle aches/cold sweats one night but chalked it up to food poisoning. Now I wonder… so screw IKEA and they’re BS “we’re the cool millennial non profit green company”. FYI they are not green they throw away a lot of furniture that is fairly still good that can be donated to domestic violence shelters or women/trans/homeless who need help getting on their feet.

    I found a permanent job and work from home now (I still can’t get back to Paris though) so I don’t work for that awful company anymore. But even the one’s who pretend to be better aren’t.

    Anyway Austin is still under lockdown (until December) so I’m curious to know how this is going to work.

  17. T says:

    The picture of Zuckerberg attached to this article gives me the willies and an actual feeling of vague nausea. He looks sick physically and something about his expression strikes me as serial-killerish. I find it super creepy and disturbing.