The outfit, which has Facebook and Google as its clients, has announced it is laying off 6,000 people after waiting for them to finish their contracts. This will wrap up 1 March and then wind down throughout the remainder of 2020.
Cognizant’s official reason for getting out of the business is that “this subset of work is not in line with the company’s strategic vision,” which could mean anything.
Bloomberg, citing various analysts, said that over time the company has gotten worse at sales — particularly in attracting digital businesses like tech platforms. (It still made $499 million in profits last quarter, on the backs of thousands of employees making $15 an hour.)
A memo from CEO Brian Humphries said that while thousands of jobs would be eliminated, Cognizant would make a donation intended to spur the development of machine-learning systems that can take the place of human moderators:
Facebook's company’s vice president of scaled operations Arun Chandra said: “We respect Cognizant’s decision to exit some of its content review services for social media platforms. Their content reviewers have been invaluable in keeping our platforms safe — and we’ll work with our partners during this transition to ensure there’s no impact on our ability to review content and keep people safe.”
Facebook said it would make up for the loss by increasing the number of moderators it has working at a site in Texas, which is operated by Genpact.
The Verge seems to think that Cognizant had acted to reduce its legal liability at a time when vendors are beginning to face lawsuits from former moderators who now have PTSD, along with a spate of sexual harassment complaints.