People put terrible things on the internet — very terrible things. And it’s someone’s job to make sure that regular people don’t run into them. But that is a terrifying job, and it understandably scars a lot of people who do it. Buzzfeed talked to one former employee who told this story.
The ex-employee, who is not named, explains that the job involves spending hours and hours and hours looking at horrible content, like beheadings, child pornography (up to 15,000 images a day), gore and extreme fetishes. That would be tough for anyone. It was enough to deeply affect this particular employee:
Google got someone from a federal agency to talk to me, and that’s when it occurred to me that I needed therapy. She showed me photos of seemingly innocuous activities (kind of like a modified Rorschach test) and asked me for my first visceral reaction. I was like, “That’s fucked up!” It was just a father and a child.
Since the employees doing this job are contractors, they can only stay for a year. Otherwise, they have to be brought on full time, and Google did not seem to want that. So it let him or her go, as it apparently does for most in that job. Maybe that’s for the best, since more than a year — more than a day — in that job seems hugely unhealthy. But the lack of a support system does seem especially cold.
Image: Jim Cooke at Gawker; original image from Richard Laschon/Shutterstock