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Cognizent will lay off Facebook content moderators, shutter Tampa site

Margie Manning



Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

About 556 workers will lose their jobs when Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. closes its facility in Tampa.

The site, at 7725 Woodland Center Blvd., is one of the locations where Cognizant workers moderate content for Facebook, according to a report in The Verge. That report highlighted difficult working conditions at the site, where some workers said they were overwhelmed by the emotional toll of the job.

Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), a Teaneck, New Jersey-based professional, said in a Dec. 18 Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that layoffs would begin on Feb. 29, 2020. Once the reduction in force is complete, Cognizant will cease operations at the facility, the WARN said.

Most of those losing their jobs — about 418 people —  have the job title of “process executive-data.” There are 75 “process specialists,” 28 team leaders, and 13 team leads, with fewer than a dozen people in each of 11 other job categories.

Cognizant said in October that it would exit its content operations business, which focused on determining if certain content violated clients’ standards and involved objectionable materials.

“We’ve determined that this subset of work is not in line with our strategic vision for the company,” Brian Humphries, CEO, said in a conference call with analysts.

The decision to exit the business was expected to impact a total of about 6,000 Cognizant workers and cost the company about $240 million to $270 million in lost revenue, said Karen McLoughlin, chief financial officer.

“While we intend to exit this work, we recognize the cleansing, the web of objectionable content is a worthy cause and one in which companies have a role to play,” Humphries said. “For this reason, we have decided to allocate $5 million to fund research aimed at increasing the level of sophistication of algorithms and automation, thereby reducing users’ exposure to objectionable content.”

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