Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

AOL to Move Message Board Moderators
By Associated Press
February 12, 2004, 11:07 AM EST

OKLAHOMA CITY -- About 100 workers who moderate AOL's message boards and screen for objectionable online content will be laid off by the end of March, AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said.

The jobs of the Community Action Team will be moved to other America Online call centers, and possibly overseas, Graham said Wednesday.


Oklahoma City workers previously had been told that because of the sensitive nature of their jobs, they were not at risk for transfer to international centers.

The workers expressed concern that international employees would not understand some of the American slang expressions or cultural references they are trained to screen for in AOL chat rooms.

"My job was to protect kids," said one worker. "They're sending our jobs overseas, where their rules are not the same. If they don't understand our culture, how can they keep the kids safe? I understand the corporate need to save money, but they're missing the moral point."

Graham said AOL provides extensive training to all of its customer service representatives.

"We stand by the ability of anyone in the member services organization who has gone through the same kind of training that everybody else goes through in order to deal with these specific and sometimes sensitive issues," he said.
F.C.C. Begins Rewriting Rules on Delivery of the Internet

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 — The Federal Communications Commission began writing new rules today that officials and industry experts said would profoundly alter both the way the Internet is delivered and used in homes and businesses.

In one set of proceedings, the commission began writing regulations to enable computer users to gain access to the Internet through electric power lines. Consumers will be able to plug their modems directly into the wall sockets just as they do with any garden variety appliance. Officials said the new rules, which are to be completed in the coming months, would enable utilities to offer an alternative to the cable and phone companies and provide an enormous possible benefit to rural communities that are served by the power grid but not by broadband providers.

In a second set of proceedings, commissioners began considering what rules ought to apply to companies offering Internet space and software to enable computer users to send and receive telephone calls.

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