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The Worst Job at Google

Steven Blum
9

Well here's a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen: it seems Google hires multiple contractors per year to do the dirty work of scanning the Internet for the most horrid content, while providing them with virtually no emotional support. The kind of videos and pictures these poor souls have to wade through make me sick just reading about it: necrophelia, Al Queda beheadings, thousands of images of child porn. Here's one Googler's account:

I dealt with all the products that Google owned. If anyone were to use them for child porn, I’d have to look at it. So maybe like 15,000 images a day. Google Images, Picasa, Orkut, Google search, etc.

I had no one to talk to. I couldn’t bring it home to my girlfriend because I didn’t want to burden her with this bullshit. For seven, eight, nine months, I was looking at this kind of stuff and thinking I was fine, but it was putting me in a really dark place

As someone who can't even read a thread on Reddit without getting depressed by humanity, I can't even imagine what it would be like to sit in a corner office and pour through pages and pages of this muck. Worse still, Google tends to fire contractors like this after a year spent in one of the worst jobs ever:

Three people here were on the midnight shift for YouTube and they were given the promise that if they were going to see beheadings and child porn and all this shit all the time, they'd get hired. YouTube’s review process is proactive — they have to sit there and look at all of it, from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., for a year. One of my really good friends lost her life for a year doing that.

But no job came of it. And no therapy, either. Google provided this anonymous hero with just a single appointment at a government-appointed therapist. It's a little sickening to think that Google –  even with billions of dollars in the bank – don't provide support for these folks.

Actually, everything about this story – from the messed-up sites to the now messed-up employees who have to see them – makes my heart break a little. The Internet can be a really scary place.

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Comments

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  • Eric McBride Aug 22, 2012 Link

    WOW. Just....

    WOW

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  • Steven Blum Aug 22, 2012 Link

    I know. I understand why Google wouldn't want these people to have to do that job forever, but I don't understand why they don't provide them with support. Messed up.

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  • nicole schneeberger Aug 22, 2012 Link

    bibjbbbhhhhjjjjjbbbbbbpppjjbbbbbjjjiiiihhbgh"vvggggggg...b
    bbbbbbbb/llllvvvvv'

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    Donsaibot Aug 22, 2012 Link

    fuuuuuuuck thiiiiiis... really Google?

    Disappointing

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  • murat mumcu Aug 22, 2012 Link

    budami?

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  • sandro8771 Aug 23, 2012 Link

    So these guy's get on the payroll with Google to get screwed in the head.

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  • Sean Foster Aug 23, 2012 Link

    On the face of it, this appears genuine, and if so. You're right, this has class action all over it. I'm not sure about the employers duty of care in the states. I can't see it flying in the UK.

    These people are specifically hired to look at the most twisted stuff the Internet has to offer. A full shift, nearly every day, for a year!

    I can only imagine the field day psychologist could have with the effect this will have. Hey Google, how about we launch a study? Have weekly psychological assessments for the next intake and document the effect on them.
    No! Really, why not?

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  • Steven Blum Aug 23, 2012 Link

    Employer's duty of care is UK-specific, not sure if there is a U.S. equivalent, but Google should care at the very least about their image here, and it will certainly hurt them if ex-employees decide to sue (NYTimes and its ilk eat that kind of story up for breakfast). It's bad management of a bad job monitoring bad things. All bad.

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  • Patrick R. Aug 23, 2012 Link

    I cannot begin to imagine what these guys see to keep our searches safe and clean. Thank you for this article. I hope google realizes this and does something about it. I'd hate to think that my internet surfing and searching is at the expense of the sanity of a few good souls.

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