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Photo: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A new report from NYU finds that a heavy reliance on contractors to handle content moderation at Facebook, Google and YouTube has led to bad working conditions and a lack of attention to real-world harms caused by inflammatory or deceptive content.

Why it matters: A great deal of attention is paid to these platforms' content policies, but much of the actual moderation work is being left to people who don't even directly work for the companies.

What they're saying: "The widespread practice of relying on third-party vendors for content review amounts to an outsourcing of responsibility for the safety of major social media platforms and their billions of users," said Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and author of the report.

Details: In addition to bringing the moderation process in house, the report recommends that social media companies:

  • Double the number of content moderators.
  • Hire content moderation "czars."
  • Expand content moderation in countries where online-fueled violence is likely.
  • Provide better medical and mental health care to moderators.
  • Fund research into the health effects of content moderation on workers.

Go deeper

Gen Z is eroding the power of misinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Gen Z may be more immune to the lure of misinformation because younger people apply more context, nuance and skepticism to their online information consumption, experts and new polling suggests.

Why it matters: An innate understanding of social media influence, virality and algorithms among Gen Z — defined by Pew as the cohort born between 1997 and 2012 — could disarm the misinformation and disinformation racking the U.S.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.