Rev bans underage transcribers following reports of disturbing audio


Transcription company Rev updated its Terms of Service agreement today following reports of workers unhappy with low pay and exposure to graphic files without warning. Most of the changes appear to be efforts to solidify its workers’ classification as independent contractors, but there is one notable change: the company now requires transcribers to be at least 18, or older in some states.

Prior to today’s update, Rev’s website explicitly stated it had “no age requirement” for working on transcriptions. US employment laws largely don’t apply to the type of freelance labor used by Rev, “so there may be people under 16 working over 40 hours a week on Rev and that’s not illegal,” Veena Dubal, associate professor of law at the University of California, Hastings previously told The Verge. In an email to The Verge last week, a Rev spokesperson added that state laws around working age requirements should be followed.

Rev’s website previously stated that “there is no age requirement” for working as a transcriptionist.

Rev charges customers a flat rate of $1 per minute of audio / video transcribed. Much of it is innocuous content, like meetings, but workers have criticized the company in the past couple weeks over receiving a shrinking share of that rate and encountering disturbing content without warning. The Verge spoke to over a dozen Rev freelancers and obtained screenshots from the company’s forum confirming workers have been presented with graphic descriptions of sexual assault, amateur porn, violent footage from police body cameras, police interviews that detail murders, and 911 calls describing mortally wounded people and dead bodies.

This change, while notable, doesn’t fix many Rev workers’ current complaints with the company. In fact, language in the new Terms of Service indicates Rev is digging its heels in with tightening descriptions defining its workers as independent contractors. The Verge has reached out to Rev for comment.

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