👨🏻‍💻 Who’s doing FB’s dirty work?


September 7, 2021

The Hustle

Folks, we’ve got a big time social media role we’re looking to fill. The ideal candidate will be:

  • A creative storyteller with a deep understanding of Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok
  • Obsessed with business and startups (both successes and failures)
  • Excited about being the face of The Hustle on social platforms

Sound like you? Apply here (creativity encouraged).

Today’s rundown:

  • Accenture: Facebook’s $500m secret moderation partner.
  • Samples: Brands get creative to meet shifting consumer behavior.
  • Digits: Interesting numbers on Amazon, parking spots, and jewels.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
working at a computer

Facebook is paying Accenture $500m a year to moderate content on its platforms

Back in 2007, a settlement with the state of New York required Facebook to remove pornographic posts within 24 hours.

At first, Facebook tasked its own employees with the job — but they were quickly overwhelmed and the company turned to automation and outsourcing.

Today, 90%+ of flagged content is removed by AI…

… while the other 10% falls on human moderators.

Accenture took on the work when Facebook moved on from its original content moderation partner.

The scope of the agreement escalated quickly:

  • The moderation team grew from 300 to 3k workers between 2015 and 2016, and is now at ~5.8k workers
  • Accenture now employs moderators across 8 offices spanning the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Poland, Ireland, and the US

Facebook has several reasons to farm out moderation work…

Among them:

  1. Scalability: Utilizing contract labor allows Facebook to scale its efforts up or down globally as quickly as needed
  2. Cost: Contract workers are far cheaper to hire than Facebook employees (who have median annual earnings of $240k)

Perhaps the biggest reason, though, is the nature of the work.

  • Moderators can view up to 700 posts per shift, and the content can be disturbing.
  • An exposé by The Verge in 2019 highlighted examples of the toxic content moderators are subjected to, including videos of killings and animal cruelty.

As a result, many moderators have suffered mental health issues from the work. Facebook recently paid a $52m settlement covering 11k+ moderators who suffered from PTSD on the job.

So why is Accenture doing this?

One reason is money. Digital content moderation is expected to be a $8.8B industry by next year, and Accenture is currently pulling in $500m a year from Facebook alone.

The other is exposure to Silicon Valley, which Accenture was lacking prior to taking on the work. Time will tell if the firm will continue to feel that the weight of Facebook’s dirty work is worth it.

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SNIPPETS

Ecomm on fire: Investment in online payments startups in H1 2021 increased 172% to all of 2020. #ecommerce-retail

Tesla has company: MotorTrend gave a glowing review of Rivian’s R1T pickup. #clean-energy

Quantum is coming: Quantum Machines, a startup that builds hardware and software to enable quantum computing, raised $50m. #emerging-tech

Bitcoin nation: A NYT investigation found that mining Bitcoin consumes more energy annually than Finland, a nation of 5.5m people. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Rollup efficiencies: Amazon rollups have raised $8B to date — the business model centers on supply chain efficiency and marketing. #big-tech

Sample Tech
brand samples

“Just one… OK, maybe 10” (Source: Noel Hendrickson / Getty Images)

How brands are doing samples in a pandemic

Free samples — arguably the best part of grocery shopping — disappeared at the onset of the pandemic.

As consumer behavior changed, brands were forced to rethink the time-tested practice.

Sampling is important because it works

Not only does in-store sampling introduce new products and refresh old ones, but also it sways shoppers from their usuals, increases store loyalty, and creates a sense of reciprocity.

  • In 2005, Marsh Supermarkets found that sampling could increase purchases as much as 2,000%.
  • To reboot its image, Spam gave away 100k+ samples at 65 UK stores. Sales rose by 656% that week and 10% that year.
  • A 2019 study found 85% of samplers who bought a product were 1st-time buyers. Samplers were also 11% more likely to buy again within 20 weeks.

Meanwhile, not sampling hurts. Rodrigo Salas of Molli Sauces told Eater that sales dropped ~30% after the pandemic halted sampling in 2020.

With consumer behaviors shifting…

… brands are testing new sampling techniques — and some of them are pretty creative:

  • Heineken partnered with meal-kit service HelloFresh to let customers try its new nonalcoholic Heineken 0.0 with their dinners.
  • Coca-Cola stuck samples in online shopping orders and donated products to frontline workers.
  • The Freeosk is a contact-free kiosk that dispenses packaged samples at Albertsons, Walmart, Safeway, and other retailers.

We can’t speak to the actual quality of samples from a Freeosk, but what a great portmanteau!

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Free Resource

How to network better (and hate it less)

Building strong relationships is a key skill for entrepreneurs.

Strong introductions leave impressions that count, which is something worth striving for. A little thoughtfulness goes a very long way.

Here’s some easy and actionable networking advice

Love, Dad. I mean, HubSpot. Wait what?

This 8-minute video highlights the most sensible tactics for less awkward and more awesome networking.

Creative activist Ouigi Theodore (of menswear brand Brooklyn Circus) drops in to enlighten you on moving with style and character.

There’s also tasteful finger dancing.

(Bonus resource for you: 8 elevator pitch sinkers)

Good morning energy →
By the numbers
Prime Air

But can it do same-hour delivery? (Source: Amazon)

Digits: Amazon in the sky, billions of parking spots, and $135m jewels

1) More than 70% of the US population now lives within 100 miles of an Amazon Air airport, up from 54% in April 2020.

2) Wind power is growing. In 2010, no US wind turbines had rotors over 115 meters in diameter. By 2020, 91% of new rotor installations were that size or larger.

3) There are an estimated 250m cars in the US, along with 2B parking spots. Cars spend ~95% of their existence parked.

4) German prosecutors filed charges against suspects in a museum heist of 18th-century jewels valued at $135m. When’s the movie coming out?

5) The organized retail theft industry is doing very well. It’s now responsible for $45B in annual retailer losses, and at CVS, reported thefts are up 30% in the last year.

6) Kraft-Heinz will pay $62m as part of an accounting fraud settlement. We’re just surprised the fine was for that and not for creating their mixed ketchup and ranch sauce, Kranch.

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AROUND THE WEB

💡 Hmm: Thingtesting showcases interesting and sometimes quirky new products, like inflatable paddle boards, cocoa-free chocolate, and this caffeine mist you spray in your mouth.

🎨 Haha: Enjoy these weirdly descriptive color palettes in shades including “grassiest charcoal” and “uncloistered very pale green.”

🥤 That’s interesting: Meet the “Root Beer Lady,” a nurse who lived alone in the Minnesota wilderness for decades, brewing root beer from lake water.

🐂 That’s cool: Artist Andoni Bastarrika makes incredibly realistic sculptures, but they don’t last. They’re made from sand!

🤸 Wow: A 13-year-old girl in Japan broke 2 Guinness World Records for spinning and doing the splits inside a wind tunnel at an indoor skydiving center.

🖥️  How to: Progressive web apps are online apps you can run on your desktop. Wired explains how.

Meme of the day

Source: Bored Panda

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