Tech: TikTok moderators speak out

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Welcome to the start of another month. Today, Insider has a gripping investigation into the psychological distress facing TikTok content moderators in Morocco.

I'm your host, Jordan Parker Erb. Let's get straight to it.


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TikTok

1. TikTok's Moroccan content moderators speak out. As the app gains in popularity in the Middle East and North Africa, it's ramping up its content moderation operation in the region — but reviewers say they're watching hours of graphic videos with little psychological help.

  • Nine current and former content moderators in Morocco described experiences of severe psychological distress as a result of their jobs with outsourcing companies.
  • Moderators described goals that were impossible to reach, videos of suicide and animal cruelty, and work that made them feel more like robots than human beings. Each said they were paid less than $3 an hour.
  • Some reviewers said that while the outsourcing firm does offer in-house wellness counselors, they weren't enough to help them with the pressures of the role. 

Inside the life of a TikTok content moderator.


In other news:

A row of Tesla cars leave a factory surrounded by lights.

2. Electric vehicles could soon become more affordable. Under a new Senate deal, buyers of Teslas and other electric vehicles could be eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax breaks. What you want to know.

3. Shopify was quietly laying off workers weeks before it announced a 10% workforce cut. Insiders say dozens of employees were offered significantly less severance pay before the company formally announced layoffs. Here's what insiders told us.

4. Laid-off tech employees share their experiences. As of July, more than 30,000 tech workers lost their jobs. Insider spoke to employees from Tesla to Coinbase — you can read some of their stories here.

5. Dozens of US companies were in a leaked database of users for a Russian facial recognition company. The company, NTech Lab, sells a facial recognition tool called FindFace, and its donors include two funds backed by the Russian government. Included in its user database were Intel, SpaceX, and dozens of other US companies.

6. Elon Musk is planning his own private airport in Texas. Sources told local news outlet Austonia that Musk has plans for his own airport, which could service the companies he has based there. Meanwhile, Musk also filed a counter lawsuit after Twitter sued him for attempting to walk away from a $44 billion takeover deal — and he was back on the platform making jokes about the situation.

7. Layoffs just keep coming. OnlyFans, known for its adult-content subscription service, told Insider it laid off employees in a move to "reshape certain teams." A look at what we know so far. Plus, EV-startup Rivian began cutting staff last week.

8. The engineer who was fired by Google says its AI chatbot is "pretty racist." Former Google engineer Blake Lemoine said the company's AI bot LaMDA has concerning biases, which he says stem from a lack of diversity among the engineers designing the bot. The latest on the "sentient" bot.


Odds and ends:

Eve envisages the aircraft will operate in cities like London.

9. This electric flying taxi could shuttle passengers between airports and city centers by 2026. Brazilian plane maker Embraer's Eve has received 1,900 orders from US airlines such as Republic and Skywest. See inside the four-seat flying taxi.

10. What it's like to road trip in Toyota's RAV4 Prime. An Insider transportation reporter put the plug-in hybrid to the test on a 350-mile road trip, and it perfectly balanced the benefits of electric cars with the practicality of gas. This is what the journey was like.


What we're watching today:


Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.


Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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