Facebook employs 15,000 contract moderators globally - more than any other tech company.
Facebook has responded to a backlash against hate and disinformation on its platform with the hiring of an army of content reviewers; at the end of 2018, the company had more than 30,000 people working on what it calls safety and security.
"In the years since, it's become clear that $15 per hour doesn't meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate", Chandra and Gale said.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Washington, D.C., Facebook is raising the minimum wage for contract workers to $20 per hour. Content moderators will also have the option to water down the disturbing content that comes their way. Facebook said they'll pay at least $22 per hour to employees of vendor partners in the Bay Area, NYC and Washington. Seattle residents will get $20 per hour and those in all other metro areas in the U.S. will start at $18 per hour.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer and the largest USA private sector employer, pays workers $11 an hour at entry-level, while Target Corp said here in April it would raise US minimum wage to $13 an hour.
Facebook said it's well aware of the challenges.
Gale said she hopes to implement the changes by the summer of 2020.
Facebook is raising how much it pays USA contractors who do some of its most taxing work, including watching violent and other objectionable material for possible removal. The company does not share the numbers of contract workers it has.
Facebook has attempted to improve the atmosphere for contract workers in the past, allowing them to attend classes offered to full-time employees, and even posting signs around its campus that say, "Contractors Are People Too". In recent months, some employees at the company have begun pressuring management to make larger changes, by bringing up working conditions for contractors at meetings and supporting efforts by organized labor.
In 2015, Facebook set a minimum wage standard of $15 for contract workers and required them to receive benefits such as parental leave and at least 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation.
The minimum wage hikes come amid criticism of Facebook by some content moderators, who allege the company violated California law by failing to provide thousands of content moderators with a safe workplace. Some turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. Moderators will soon be able to review videos without sound, opt-out of autoplay videos, and look at images in black and white, rather than color.
The California-based social network meant to foster consistency among its vendors around the world with requirements such as overtime and premiums for night or weekend shifts, as well as healthcare that meet standards of the US Affordable Care Act.
Facebook will now "ensure counseling support is available on site, during all hours of operations, not during only the day shifts", he added.
"We're kicking off a biannual audit and compliance program this year for content review teams", the company said.
A number of media reports, however, have focused attention on the conditions under which reviewers, employed by third party contractors including Genpact and Wipro Ltd, work. "We certainly hope that other major tech corporations follow suit".